Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division narrowed the gap with luxury-car market leaders BMW Group and Volkswagen Group’s Audi in July as deliveries of the revamped E-class model and compact vehicles surged.
Sales of Mercedes-brand cars and SUVs jumped 20 percent from a year earlier to 116,790 units. The growth outpaced increases of 14 percent for BMW-brand models and 10 percent at Audi.
Daimler is pushing new models to return Mercedes to its rank as the top-selling luxury-car producer by 2020 while countering a contraction in Europe’s auto market that’s in its sixth year.
Sales of the compact Mercedes A-class hatchback, B- class crossover and CLA coupe almost doubled last month, while demand for the E class gained 26 percent, according to the Stuttgart-based manufacturer. Mercedes’s “young model mix will enable us to generate further growth in the second half of this year,” Joachim Schmidt, the division’s sales chief, said in an Aug. 2 statement.
Luxury-car producers have fared better than mass-market manufacturers in recent years as growing appetite for upscale vehicles in China and the United States more than offset shrinking demand in recession-burdened Europe.
Both Munich-based BMW and Mercedes posted sales growth in their home region in July. The brands were among the top three in registration gains in Germany last month, according to the country’s Federal Motor Vehicle Office.
BMW deliveries last month rose to 128,594 vehicles, helped by new versions of the 3-series model and demand for SUVs, the company said today.
Seven-month sales by the world’s biggest luxury-car brand rose 8 percent to 932,848 units.
“We continue to target sales volume growth for the full year and hence a new all-time high for worldwide sales,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s sales chief, said in a statement. “Our vehicle lineup is very strong, and we are confident that further new models,” such as the BMW 4-series coupe and X5 SUV, will push growth when they go on sale in coming months.
Seven-month Mercedes sales increased 8 percent to 811,227 cars and SUVs. Audi’s July deliveries jumped to 131,300, pushing the seven-month figure up 7 percent to 911,800, the Ingolstadt-based division said yesterday.
Mercedes-Benz has a target of selling more than 1.4 million cars this year, and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has pledged that the brand will regain the crown in the premium-car segment by the end of the decade.
Audi also aims to be No. 1 in global sales of luxury cars by 2020 and this year it has outsold BMW brand three out of seven months, including July (131,300 deliveries vs. 128,594 for BMW brand).
Mercedes ranks third in deliveries after dropping behind Audi in 2011. Audi reiterated earlier this month that it expects to cross the 1.5 million-vehicle annual sales mark in 2013 for the first time, two years earlier than planned.