DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- BMW AG's BMW brand roared back ahead of Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz to lead U.S. luxury auto sales last month when its new 3 Series sedan reached showrooms.
U.S. sales of the BMW brand rose 29 percent to 21,204 in February compared to a year earlier, the automaker said today.
Deliveries of the 3 Series gained 66 percent. Mercedes sales rose 17 percent in February to 18,080, while Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand rose 21 percent to 16,678.
"The surge in consumer confidence and the launch of the new BMW 3 Series combined to produce the strongest February results since the record set in 2007," Ludwig Willisch, head of BMW of North America, said in a statement.
Mercedes's updated version of the C-Class compact sedan and new two-door version have helped the automaker put pressure on BMW's effort to keep its spot as the top-selling luxury brand in the United States.
Lexus was the leader for 11 years until BMW took the crown last year.
After two months, Mercedes holds a 770 unit sales lead for the year over BMW, which overtook Lexus as the annual sales leader in 2011.
Mercedes sold a total of 38,379 in January and February while BMW delivered 37,609 during those months. Dealers sold 28,952 Lexus cars and sport-utility vehicles in the United Sates.
The results exclude Daimler's Sprinter vans and Smart cars and BMW's Mini brand, which aren't luxury vehicles.