BMW Widens Lead Over Audi and Mercedes image

Last month BMW managed to widen its lead over Audi, thanks to increased demand for the X1 SUV and the 3-Series sedan.

In March BMW sold 159, 195 vehicles, up 4.4%, surpassing the 3% gain set by VW’s Audi. During the first quarter BMW sold 381,404 vehicles, widening the distance from Audi with 11,904 more vehicles. Mercedes sales also increased 6.5% in March and 49% for the first quarter, thanks to climbing demand for the new A- and B-Class compacts. BMW surpassed Mercedes with 56,506 units.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer announced in March that the automaker’s plants are running at full capacity to be able to deal with the high demand. Last month sales for the X1 increased 28% and the 3-Series were up 20%. Audi’s sales were led by the Q3 compact SUV and the A1 small car.

“The BMW group achieved an all-time high in sales last month and the best first quarter in its history, despite the headwinds present in Europe,” Ian Robertson, BMW sales chief, said in a statement today. “We are aiming for further growth in BMW group worldwide sales in 2013.”

The German luxury automakers plan to further increase sales this year focusing on the rising demand in China and the US, to offset loses in Europe. Analysts predict that auto sales in the European market will fall for the sixth consecutive year in 2013.