German luxury trio target record sales in 2014 image

BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are targeting at least a fourth consecutive year of record sales in 2014 as new compacts tighten the race among the German rivals for the luxury-car industry’s lead.

Last year, BMW, the leader, delivered just 79,600 vehicles more than Audi, versus 85,000 in 2012, while the gap with Daimler AG’s Mercedes narrowed to 193,500 from 220,000.

A sedan version of Audi’s A3 hatchback and the addition of the CLA coupe to Mercedes’s A- and B-Class compact line-up are part of those companies’ plans to beat sales at BMW by the end of the decade.

In the meantime, BMW will seek to keep its edge in the stiffening competition by adding the 2-Series coupe. The three manufacturers are battling for new customers in the growing Chinese and U.S. markets as economic woes in Europe hamper demand in their home region.

BMW has been the top luxury-vehicle seller worldwide since dethroning Stuttgart-based Mercedes in 2005. Last year was the third in a row of all-time high deliveries at both carmakers, while Ingolstadt-based Audi has reported annual vehicle-sales records since 2010.

VW’s Porsche sports-car unit, which sold a record 162,145 vehicles in 2013, is also targeting further growth this year as the new Macan compact SUV wins first-time customers, Bernhard Maier, the brand’s sales chief, said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Maserati, owned by Fiat SpA, expects record demand in 2014 pushed by a “significant” increase in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Harald Wester said in an interview. Maserati is “on pace” to boost sales eightfold to 50,000 in 2015 on deliveries of new models, including its first ever SUV to be introduced next year, Wester added.

Via Bloomberg