Compact segment heats premium manufacturers war image

Mercedes-Benz has cut the gap against larger luxury-car competitors BMW and Audi last month as the advent of the new CLA four-door coupe buoyed demand for the company’s compact models.

Mercedes-Benz sales jumped 16% from a year earlier in September to 143, 000 cars and sport-utility vehicles. That thoroughly beat a 7.6% increase at BMW and a 10% gain at Audi.

BMW, Audi and Mercedes are all targeting record global deliveries in 2013, seeking to lure younger buyers with new vehicles such as the CLA, the BMW 4-Series coupe and the sedan version of Audi’s A3 compact. Also, Audi and Mercedes are both fighting to overtake Munich-based BMW as the world’s largest luxury-car seller by the end of the decade.

“Mercedes is getting some tailwinds from its model cycle,” said Frank Biller, a Stuttgart-based analyst at LBBW. “The young products are pushing sales.” The Daimler unit probably also improved profit margins in the third quarter, reducing the gap with competitors earnings, he said.

Nine-month sales tally for Mercedes grew 10% to 1.06 million cars and SUVs. The BMW brand’s deliveries in September totaled 158,000 units, with gainsfor the nine-month figure up 9 % to 1.21 million. Ingolstadt, Germany-based Audi also reported a healthy  7.6 % nine-month increase to 1.18 million autos. Mercedes’s sales in the period amounted to 88 % of BMW’s, narrowing the gap from 87 % a year earlier. Audi’s sales difference with BMW widened to 98 % from 99 %.

Via Bloomberg