The sales reports from all three German luxury automakers have been totaled, and it’s safe to say that after the March figures and the first quarter tally, the BMW brand keeps its edge over its close followers Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
The BMW Group, with its namesake, Mini and ultra-luxury Rolls-Royce brands seems able and willing to keep the crown as the world’s largest luxury automaker this year as well, even as both VW’s Audi and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz have vowed to overtake them by the decade’s end – or even faster. The fight at the top is relentless, with the automakers needing to balance carefully the desire to drive sales and the need to keep earnings margins equally high.
Last month Mercedes-Benz, once the traditional No. 1, but today only relegated to the overall third position in the global rankings, had a tally of 183,467 units, jumping 16 percent from the same period of 2014. Its first quarter total was of 429,602 autos, jumping around 15 percent year-over-year. Second placed Audi had a slower March on the other hand, with sales up 4.4 percent to 177,950 vehicles – albeit their best sales month ever. The first quarter tally surged 6.1 percent to a total of 438,250 cars and SUVs, posting another record. The BMW brand topped both with sales of 195,593 units, the best March in history, and up 5.1 percent from the same period last year. First quarter deliveries also give it a comfortable lead, reaching a tally of 451,576 autos, climbing 5.4 percent year-over-year. It’s also interesting to note Mercedes’ rapid pace of increasing deliveries, with double-digit growth in the first quarter (15 percent), compared to 6.1 percent for Audi and just 5.4 percent for BMW.