BWM Surpassed Mercedes as US Auto Sales Hit Highest Level Since 2007 image

BMW’s sales increased 39% in the US in December surpassing Mercedes-Benz in the race for the no.1 luxury-auto seller.

In 2012 light-vehicle sales reached the highest level since 2007, and BMW’s 5 Series deliveries were up 72% last month, reaching an annual increase of 14% to a record 281,460 units. This is the second straight year when BMW manages to edge Mercedes-Benz, while Toyota’s Lexus was left with the third place, selling 244,166 vehicles, an increase of 23%.

The top luxury brands’ growing sales helped the US auto industry reach 14.5 million deliveries, the highest level in 5 years and the first three-year streak of at least 10% increase since 1973, while last years 13% increase was the highest since 1984. Analysts expect a growth in 2013 to 15.1 million light-vehicle sales.

“The U.S. is ready to become the cash cow again,” said Rebecca Lindland, analyst with IHS Automotive in Norwalk, Connecticut. “Right now, we are the brightest bulb in the chandelier.”

GM, Ford and Chrysler managed to beat analysts’ estimates for December, compared with the Asian automakers which missed their targets. According to Kurt McNeil, GM vice president of U.S. sales operations, the US economy is in good shape after it avoided the fiscal cliff tax increases and the automatic spending cuts were delayed.