A BMW logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 12, 2016.

A BMW logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 12, 2016. (Reuters)

BMW Sets Sales Record, But Mercedes Remains Luxury Leader

By Auto FOXBusiness

BMW Group booked stronger global sales in May, but its chief rival, Mercedes-Benz, remains on pace to take the luxury sales crown for the first time in more than a decade.

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BMW said Monday it delivered 198,354 vehicles last month, up 5.3% compared to May 2015. The German automakers said both BMW and Mini sales increased year-over-year. Europe led the way with 11.9% growth, while sales in Asia were up 6.3% amid broader demand in China. BMW reported weaker results in the Americas, driven by an 8.8% drop in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz fared a little better, recording a 1% decline during a lackluster month for U.S. auto sales. Worldwide sales continued to accelerate, though. The Daimler subsidiary said demand for its compact cars and SUVs contributed to a 13% increase in sales to 170,625 units, a record for May. Mercedes-Benz has seen explosive growth this year in the world’s largest auto market, China, where sales jumped 39%.

Mercedes-Benz has been climbing back up the rankings of global luxury sales. It leapfrogged Audi last year, turning the tables on its Volkswagen-owned rival for the first time since 2010. This year, Mercedes-Benz is taking aim at BMW, which has led the luxury market every year going back to 2005. Mercedes-Benz has sold 818,175 new vehicles over the first five months of 2016, versus BMW’s sales of 797,457.

Mercedes-Benz also has topped Toyota’s (TM) Lexus in U.S. sales year-to-date. BMW is currently running in third place, about 1,000 vehicles behind Lexus.

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Although there could be a shake-up in the global standings, BMW said it expects to record profitable sales growth for the full year.

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“Our target is to ensure profitable growth in sales and thanks to our attractive model line-up, that’s what we are achieving,” BMW’s sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said in the company’s monthly report.

Since the start of the year, BMW’s total sales—including Mini—have grown 5% to 935,288 with Europe and Asia offsetting sluggish sales in the Americas.

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