Mercedes-Benz widened its global luxury-car sales lead in the first half of the year. The Stuttgart-based automaker sold 1.14 million cars in the six months through June, 14 percent more than a year earlier. BMW lagged behind with a 5.2 percent gain to 1.04 million vehicles. Audi registrations fell 4.7 percent to 908,950.
Mercedes-Benz’s registrations rose 11 percent to 209,309 in June as demand grew for the new E-class and the automaker’s SUVs. Sales of BMW brand vehicles rose 2 percent to 192,873 last month, while third-placed Audi saw sales rise 1 percent to 170,650.
BMW sold 106,244 fewer vehicles in the first half than Mercedes, versus a difference of 89,818 cars in the five months through May.
Sales of Mercedes’ latest E class surged 68 percent in the first half, and demand for its SUVs gained 13 percent. BMW’s X1 SUV was its biggest growth driver in the period.
Mercedes’ star has been rising since chief designer Gorden Wagener led a radical redesign five years ago. While Mercedes has been surging ahead, BMW has had to wait out the redesign cycle, and the first revamped model was the new 5 Series.
BMW CEO Harald Krueger plans to catch up by rolling out 40 vehicles over the next two years, including the new X2 compact SUV and a full-size X7 crossover.