After 18 percent sales increase in March, BMW leads in the premium segment in the first quarter of this year. BMW finished ahead of Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. by just 36 units.
The impressive sales gains reported by both German automakers indicate that the battle for the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. will continue in 2012 once again with a photo finish. In 2011, BMW took the crown with a lead of just 2,715 units.
In March, BMW sold 23,940 cars, while Mercedes reported sales of 23,134 units or a 7.7 percent increase. Lexus continues to recover and reported 20,140 units sold.
But after the first quarter the distance between BMW and Mercedes resumes to only 36 cars. BMW sold 61,549 cars, followed by Mercedes with 61,513 and Lexus, 49,096. The results exclude Daimler’s Sprinter vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.
BMW’s sales received a boost from the new 3 Series which went on sale in February. A rise of 16 percent was reported in March.
With new models being introduced this year, BMW is looking at record sales. “The year is still young and BMW alone will introduce in 2012 more new and refreshed models in the U.S. than it ever has before in any one year making us strongly optimistic about the months ahead,” Willisch said for Bloomberg.
, the company said in a statement.
Mercedes sales have been helped by a new M-Class SUV and updated C-Class sedan and new coupe version. Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes USA, says that the company has better inventory levels than BMW, but the advantage will soon dissipate.
“We’ll enjoy that advantage for as long as it lasts — it won’t last very long because they’re going to get more units out there in inventory but for the moment we’re very optimistic,” Cannon said.[Source: SFGate ]