BMW to Top Mercedes in U.S. Luxury Sales Race

BMW to Top Mercedes in U.S. Luxury Sales Race
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With official sales numbers set to be released later today, it is expected that BMW will top Mercedes as the number one luxury brand in the U.S. by volume. According to estimates by Autodata Corp., BMW is projected to announce a 16 percent sales rise in December for a total of 27,000 units for the month and 248,073 units for the year.

This figure would put the German automaker just ahead of its domestic rival Mercedes-Benz by a mere 2,804 vehicles. The Mercedes year-end total sits at 245,269 units, with an annual increase of 13 percent

Numbers were expected to be released already, but a delay in announcements is believed to be a stalemate between the two automakers as one waits for the other to reveal its figures first.

Overall gains for the year come as a result of an improved economy, but also a new 3 Series by BMW, as well as an updated C-Class and all-new M Class SUV by Mercedes.

The former U.S. luxury sales leader (for the past 11 years), Lexus slips to third, due in part to old product, but also limited production capacity as a result of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Overall sales for Lexus were down 13 percent for the year to 198,552 units.

Another major player is Audi, with sales rising 16 percent for the year. With a total of 117,561 units it remains a distant fourth.

[Source: BusinessWeek]