Mercedes tops Audi in Nov. global sales; BMW defends luxury lead

Mercedes has been gaining ground on its rivals with strong sales of compact models such as the CLA.
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FRANKFURT -- Mercedes-Benz outsold premium rival Audi last month as a new line of compacts lured customers to the Daimler unit.

Mercedes delivered 133,441 cars and SUVs in November, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier. That beat Audi's 132,050 sales, which was a 7 percent rise. BMW brand defended its global premium sales lead by boosting monthly volume 3 percent to 149,663 vehicles, the automaker said in a statement today.

Overall, BMW brand has sold 1.49 million vehicles this year, a rise of 8 percent, keeping it ahead of Audi, which reported on Monday that its deliveries rose 7 percent to 1.44 million. Mercedes sales rose 11 percent to 1.32 million in the first 11 months.

November marked the fifth month in a row that sales gains by Mercedes outpaced increases at BMW and Audi. A 54 percent surge in demand for compact models, including the four-door CLA coupe and A-class hatchback, propelled growth at the carmaker. In addition to introducing the CLA in April, Mercedes revamped its S-class flagship sedan and upgraded the upscale E-class sedan in 2013.

"The current model cycle is very beneficial for Mercedes," said Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Commerzbank AG. "Audi and BMW have to invest in new production capacities and the development of new models. Mercedes's investment cycle has peaked and they are entering a phase of outperformance." All three German manufacturers are targeting sales records this year on strong demand from China and the United States.

Positive outlook

"Although conditions remain challenging in a number of European markets, we expect sales to continue to develop positively over the coming months," Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing at BMW, said today. "Our target of record sales for 2013 is now within reach."

BMW said brand deliveries were boosted by sales of the new 3-series GT, which helped overall 3-series sales grow 24 percent to 451,774 through November, and the 4 series, which went on sale in October and has sold 9,938 units.

Sales at the group’s Mini brand fell nearly 1 percent last month to 24,873. Since January, sales have risen nearly 1 percent to 274,575.

Total BMW Group sales, which include the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, rose 3 percent to 174,996 last month. In the first 11 months, the group sold 1.77 million vehicles, a rise of 7 percent.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

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