German premium automaker BMW Ag., on Thursday said its sales in the United States rose 19.5 percent to 305, 418 vehicles in 2011 due to strong demand for its 5 Series and 6 Series models, as well as stronger demand for its MINI brand and light trucks.

BMW Group reported December sales of 32,545 vehicles, an increase of 17.9% from the 27,600 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago.

“BMW Group sales momentum has been increasing all year and this new burst of consumer confidence filled our dealer showrooms putting both BMW and MINI over the top,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America.

“I have great confidence that 2012 will be even better especially with the all-new BMW 3 Series arriving in the U.S. in February with more new and refreshed models coming in the months after.”

The battle between BMW and Mercedes to replace Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus as the top luxury brand in the U.S. after 11 years was helped by a lack of the Japanese automaker’s production following the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The Toyota Motor Corp. brand reeled after the March earthquake in Japan disrupted production, finishing the year down 13 percent at 198,552. Mercedes won the title once, in 1999, before ceding the U.S. crown to Lexus.



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