Sales at Mercedes-Benz, the highest-volume U.S. luxury brand for the past two years, plunged in July after inventory shortfalls and a technical glitch handicapped dealers.
Mercedes-Benz deliveries tumbled 23 percent last month to 20,034 -- the steepest drop and lowest monthly total so far this year for the Daimler AG brand -- shrinking its lead over BMW AG to 3,514 vehicles. The German automaker said a “temporary dealer inventory shortfall” related to a changeover in 2019 models, and an unrelated “mainframe outage” gummed up dealer operations in the busiest week of the month. Resolution of the technical glitch is “nearing completion,” the company said in a statement.
“We are working closely with our customers and dealers to help alleviate any inconvenience resulting from the model year 2019 delays,” Dietmar Exler, the head of Mercedes’ U.S. operations, said in the statement. “While we expect to replenish our inventory levels in the fall, these developments will likely have a negative impact on sales in the coming months.”