US, China sales push Germany's high-end carmakers BMW, Audi, and Mercedes to record year

MarketsAssociated Press

Germany's luxury carmakers had a record year in 2014 thanks to expanding sales in the United States and China.

Munich-based BMW AG kept hold of first place, selling 1.81 million vehicles worldwide in 2014. That was an increase of 9.5 percent over 2013.

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That put it ahead of Volkswagen AG's Audi brand, which increased sales by 10.5 percent to 1.74 million. Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz came in third with 1.65 million, up 12.9 percent.

BMW marketing chief Ian Robertson said Friday the company was able to increase sales in all important regions thanks to strong demand for new models such as the X4, the 2-Series Active Tourer and the electric i3, which uses advanced carbon-fiber materials to save weight.