BMW recaptures US market lead from Mercedes-Benz image

Following the one-year hiatus when the crown was ceded – with a difference of just 3,000 vehicles – to Mercedes-Benz, BMW – the world’s largest premium automaker – recaptured the lead on the No. 1 luxury market in the world, the United States.

Overall, besides automakers selling pickup trucks and SUVs, the premium brands were the primary beneficiary of the rising stock market, continuously low interest rates and attractive leasing offers. BMW managed to increase its December sales by 11% to a total of 41,526 autos, while rival Mercedes-Benz only managed a 3% surge to 34,009 units. Overall, while Mercedes last year took the title away from BMW with a 3,000 vehicles difference (BMW held the crown for the two previous years), now the difference between the two companies has grown to more than 9,000 units. Munich-based BMW saw its full-year sales grow 9.8% to 339,738 autos, while Mercedes-Benz, the third-biggest premium automaker in the world, surged 5.7 % to a tally of 330,391 vehicles.

Japan’s Lexus premium brand, which has been relegated by the two German brands into third place during the past three years, managed to narrow the gap on sales, posting a 13.7 rise to 311,389 units. Lexus ruled the US luxury market between 2000 and 2010. Volkswagen AG’s premium brand Audi – on a very rapid rise in the US – managed to end the year in fourth place, overcoming the locally brand GM brand Cadillac. Audi jumped yearly sales by 15% to 182,011 autos, aided by Cadillac’s 6.5% slump to 170,750 units. Honda Motor Co’s Acura luxury unit followed with a 1.5% climb to 167,843 vehicles, followed by another Japanese manufacturer – Nissan’s Infiniti – up 0.8% for an 117,300 total. Ford’s Lincoln has also posted great results in 2014, rising 15.6% throughout the year and tallying 94,474 vehicles.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg