BMW keeps premium sales crown for 2013 image

The German automaker held on to the lead in global luxury-car sales for the ninth straight year even as Audi and Mercedes-Benz step up efforts to overtake their archrival.

The Munich, Germany-based manufacturer said today in a statement that its sales at the BMW brand increased 7.5 % to a record 1.66 million cars in 2013, fueled by demand for the 3-series sedan and X1 compact sport-utility vehicle and; including Mini and Rolls-Royce, the group’s sales rose 6.4 % to 1.96 million vehicles last year.

BMW is stepping up spending on new models to fend off Mercedes and Audi, which have both vowed to take the lead in the segment by the end of the decade. To keep its edge, the maker of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles plans to introduce the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.

“The BMW Group posted record sales once again in 2013 and is clearly the number one in the premium segment,” BMW sales chief Ian Robertson said in the statement. “Despite the prevailing headwinds in many markets, we aim to increase sales and make 2014 another record year.”

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today, BMW will showcase the new 2-Series compact coupe to help regain the luxury-car sales lead in the U.S., which it lost to Mercedes last year. The 2-Series will replace the 1-Series in the U.S. in the first quarter.

All three German luxury-car brands posted sales records last year as they tap into rising wealth in countries such as China, India and Russia and a rebound in spending in the U.S.

Via Bloomberg