BMW outshines Mercedes-Benz as 2011’s top luxury brand in the U.S. image

BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz in the United States last year and took the title of top luxury brand in the world’s largest luxury car market.

BMW’s rising December sales contributed to the annual results, as the Bavarian carmaker recorded sales 15 percent higher to 26,834 units in the last month of the year.

BMW’s total 2011 sales reached 247,907 units in the U.S., 2,715 vehicles more than Mercedes-Benz’s sales. “BMW Group sales momentum has been increasing all year and this new burst of consumer confidence filled our dealer showrooms putting BMW over the top,” Ludwig Willisch, CEO BMW North America, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Mercedes-Benz sales rose 28 percent to 25,701 vehicles in December, with total 2011 sales in the U.S. reaching 245,192 units, 13 percent more than in 2011. Lexus, the best-selling luxury brand in the U.S. in 2010, ranked third, as it experienced supply problems caused by the Japanese tsunami and earthquake and by the Thai floods. Lexus sales fell 8 percent to 25,355 in December and 13 percent to 198,552 during the whole year.

Audi sales in the U.S. rose a solid 16 percent to 117,561 units in 2011, with the VW-owned brand expected to be a major contender in 2012.