Propelled by strong demand for its core crossovers, Mercedes-Benz is maintaining a wide lead over rival BMW in the 2020 U.S. luxury sales race.
But it was a bloody quarter — and first half — for the luxury segment as the pandemic depressed activity across the U.S. economy.
Every luxury brand except Jaguar Land Rover, which is yet to report quarterly sales, has sustained double-digit percentage sales declines in the second quarter as demand evaporated and showrooms shuttered for weeks.
Halfway through 2020, Mercedes is making sure to avoid a repeat of last year, when BMW ended Mercedes' three-year streak at the top of the luxury sales chart.
For the year so far, Mercedes has a nearly 16,800-vehicle lead over its rival.
Mercedes delivered 59,461 vehicles, excluding commercial vans, in the second quarter, down 22 percent from a year ago. The GLE crossover led totals with 9,500 sales, followed by the flagship GLC SUV with sales of 9,461.
"From April to June, the effects of coronavirus had a strong impact on our deliveries in Europe and North America," Mercedes-Benz global marketing chief Britta Seeger said in a statement Wednesday.
BMW sold 50,957 vehicles in the U.S. in the second quarter, down 39 percent from the same period a year ago. BMW's quarterly sales were buoyed by additions to the 2 Series and 8 Series sedan lineups.
In the luxury market, Lexus' U.S. sales fell 27 percent in the second quarter to 50,456. Tesla deliveries tumbled an estimated 34 percent to 36,800; Audi rounded out the top five with 34,843 sales, down 35 percent from a year earlier.
As local economies and dealerships reopen, automakers remain hopeful for the rest of the year.
"Our customers' interest in buying is high and we have been receiving very positive feedback on the numerous online activities of our global dealers," Seeger said. "That is giving us grounds for optimism with regard to the sales trend in the third quarter."