Mercedes-Benz claims US supply issues barred it from taking sales crown

Article by Anita Panait, on January 8, 2013

Mercedes-Benz is claiming that constraints in its supply of luxury vehicles in the United States have prevented it from securing the crown as the top-selling luxury car maker in the country in 2012.  Steve Cannon, Mercedes-Benz USA’s chief executive, remarked that the carmaker sold 10,000 more Mercedes ML and GL sports utility vehicles in the US, but they “did not get that share of global production.”

BMW posted a 14-percent increase in annual sales in the US in 2012 to 281,460 vehicles, 7,376 more than Mercedes’ 274,084 sold units. Mercedes had steadily held the sales lead in first 11 months of 2012, until BMW surged with a 39-percent gain in December 2012, compared with the former’s 10-percent sales growth in the month.

Likewise, Ludwig Willisch, BMW of North America’s chief executive, remarked that they could have sold more vehicles in the US, but their supply was constrained for the first eight months of 2012. He said that they had a “tough time getting cars” into the US, noting that BMW’s production sites around the world were building vehicles at full speed.

BMW’s sales triumph in the US is largely attributed to the strong sales of its 3 series. BMW sold 99,602 units of the 3 series in 2012, while Mercedes-Benz sold 81,697 C class. BMW managed to achieve the feat despite suffering from a slow ramp-up, as the all-wheel-drive version of the 3 series, which accounts for around 50 percent of its sales, did not arrive until late August 2012.

Willisch quipped that BMW kept incentives under control. Lexus grabbed the No. 3 spot in the US luxury car sales race, posting a 23-percent jump in 2012 to 244,166 vehicles.

Lexus had been the top-selling luxury carmaker in the US for 11 straight years until 2011, when it was toppled by BMW. Willisch expects BMW’s growth in 2013 to be driven by the addition of diesel engines in the 3 series in the first half, and in the 5 series by fall. BMW also will offer the redesigned 3-series coupe in the fall, but will rename it as the 4 series.

Thanks to its groundbreaking automotive technology, the third generation of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class is setting new benchmarks in the world of sports utility vehicles. In terms of driving dynamics, ride comfort, interior ergonomics, passive safety and energy efficiency, the new M-Class comes out superior at all levels.

To show how efficient the new generation of the M-Class is, the entire range eats up 25 percent – on average – less fuel than their predecessors. This marks the first time that Mercedes managed to reduce fuel consumption by a large margin when introducing a new generation of SUV. This higher level of efficiency is thanks to a series of measures.

For instance, the new M-Class is powered by ultra-modern engines and features a class-leading coefficient of drag value of 0.32 Cd. In addition, the new M-Class makes use of new development tools like the "energy-transparent vehicle" and employs extensive BlueEFFICIENCY measures. For instance, the new ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC consumes around 28 percent less fuel than its predecessor, using up just 6.0 liters per 100 km as per the NEDC driving cycle. With an ability to travel up to 1,500 km on a single tank of fuel, the new ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC only emits 158 grams of carbon dioxide per km.

Keeping itself in accordance with the Mercedes-Benz philosophy, the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class personifies the brand’s holistic safety concept of Real Life Safety. This concept – as derived from what occurs during a real accident – employs a number of passive, active safety and driver-fitness safety system to make the occupants as safe as possible. For instance, the new M-Class comes with a high-strength passenger cell as well as front and rear deformation zones. It is also installed with a host of assistance systems that are found mainly in the S-Class and E-Class.

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