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BMW Overtakes Mercedes in US Sales

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Year to date luxury car sales are up 1.5% over last year. (Image: Laura Leavell)
Year to date luxury car sales are up 1.5% over last year. (Image: Laura Leavell)


  • BMW August US sales up almost 7%; Mercedes down 2%
  • BMW incentive efforts up 21%
  • Mercedes set for early release of B-Class hatchback in India to combat BMW leadership

BMW’s United States sales were up almost 7%, selling over 20,800 vehicles in August, compared to a year earlier. The German-based automaker expanded its sales lead over Mercedes-Benz and Toyota’s Lexus, delivering the most luxury car models in the US in August for the fifth month in a row.

These results bring BMW closer to being this year’s top-selling US luxury automobile brand, possibly knocking Lexus out of the top spot after an 11-year reign.

Mercedes sales fell by almost 2% to 18,477 vehicles in August, and Japanese automaker Lexus’ sales fell 7% to just over 18,000 vehicles due to inventory disruptions following the earthquake and tsunami. “This has been a very strange August for our industry with both difficult news and unfortunate events – consumer confidence down and an earthquake, hurricane and floods in the northeast,” Jim O’Donnell, head of BMW of North America, said in a statement.

BMW’s US sales were aided by the launch of the X3 – BMW’s sport-utility vehicle as well as the company’s new 5-series sedan. BMW’s sales lead expanded this year, with a 12% increase through August to almost 156,000 vehicles.

Incentive Spending Increase

According to TrueCar.com, a website that tracks auto sales and prices, incentive spending efforts by BMW rose 21% in August, compared to 2010, to an average of US $3,566, and Mercedes spending fell 11% to $3,406. Jesse Toprak, an industry analyst at TrueCar, told Bloomberg.com that he felt BMW was being aggressive about incentive spending, adding that the car maker trying to sell its 3-series before launching a new model in 2012.

To combat BMW’s leadership in the automotive market, Mercedes-Benz may introduce its B-Class hatchback model in India earlier than planned, in June of next year.

It is rumored that Mercedes will showcase the car at the Delhi Auto Expo in January 2012, to obtain feedback form patrons, and launch the car shortly thereafter. Mercedes expects that the early launch will help attract new buyers in the world’s second fastest growing major economy.

Key Statistics – US Automotive Sales (Source: Motor Intelligence; as of Sept 2011)

  • Year-to-date luxury car sales were up 1.5% over last year.
  • In total, over 509,000 cars were sold in August 2011, up 2% from August last year, with year-to-date up 9%.
  • The top US automotive market share leadership spots go to General Motors, followed by Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan.
  • Vehicle brands sold in the US were: Ford F–Series PU, Chevrolet Silverado PU, Toyota Camry/Solara and Nissan Altima.

By Stephanie Lagopoulos for
Based in Toronto, Stephanie Lagopoulos is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, travel and technology. She also works in the advertising industry.

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