BMW’s March Advance Narrows Mercedes’ U.S. Luxury Sales Lead

Apr 01, 2014 6:01 pm ET

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW brand posted its best March sales ever, helping the German luxury-automaker shrink Mercedes-Benz’s 2014 lead.

BMW sold 32,107 vehicles last month, an increase of 19 percent from a year earlier, led by its mid-size sedans and SUVs. Mercedes, a Daimler AG unit, sold 27,401 vehicles in March, a gain of 11 percent from a year earlier, led by its top- of-the-line S-Class sedan and entry-level SUV, the GLK, according to a statement yesterday.

BMW reported a combined 14 percent increase to 10,120 deliveries for its 3 Series and 4 Series and a 46 percent jump to 4,430 for the X3 sport-utility vehicle. Sales of Mercedes’s S-Class, which starts at $92,900, almost doubled to 2,299 in March. Deliveries of the GLK, its most affordable SUV at a starting price of $37,480, rose 24 percent to 3,345.

Mercedes’s lead over BMW for the year narrowed to 237 vehicles, from 4,943 at the end of February. Munich-based BMW ceded the annual U.S. luxury-sales crown to Mercedes in 2013, ending a two-year reign.

The figures don’t include Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler’s cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.

Mercedes for all of last year outsold BMW by 3,254 units, in results by reported sales. By vehicle registrations, Mercedes outsold BMW by 2,270 last year, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co., a unit of IHS Automotive.

Lexus, Audi

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury brand posted a March increase of 23 percent to 28,593. Sales more than doubled for the entry-level IS, to 4,893, and for the GX SUV, to 1,874, the Toyota City, Japan-based company said in a statement. Sales of the RX SUV rose 9.6 percent to 9,943.

Audi sold 14,246 vehicles, a 7.5 percent gain over the same period in 2013, for its best-ever March, according to a statement from the unit of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG. Audi has now increased sales for 39 consecutive months of record sales. The March results included a 46 percent gain for its Q7 SUV and a 27 percent jump for its A6 sedan.

Honda Motor Co. reported that Acura sales rose more than 10 percent to 15,580 last month. The gains included an 81 percent surge to 5,793 for the MDX SUV and an 18 percent increase to 4,580 for the RDX, the Tokyo-based company said.

General Motors Co.’s Cadillac reported a 6.3 percent drop to 14,765, as deliveries fell or were unchanged for every model except the SRX crossover, which rose 24 percent, and the CTS sedan, which rose 4.6 percent. Sales of the ATS sedan, winner of last year’s North American Car of the Year award, declined 17 percent to 2,982, Detroit-based GM said.

Lincoln, Infiniti

Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti sales gained 13 percent to 12,494 in March, according to a statement from the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker. Infiniti’s top sellers were the Q50 sedan, still in its first year on the market, with 3,795, and the QX60 SUV, up 27 percent to 3,340.

Monthly sales of Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln brand jumped 31 percent to 8,969, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company reported. Deliveries of its MKZ sedan rose 72 percent to 4,052.

Porsche, the Stuttgart-based automaker that’s part of Volkswagen, said deliveries rose 9.2 percent to 3,808, as its Cayenne SUV advanced 23 percent to 1,862.

Land Rover’s monthly sales climbed 2 percent to 4,399, also a March record for the brand, while Jaguar’s rose 29 percent to 1,816, according to an e-mailed statement. The two brands are owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd.

Maserati, a unit of Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA, said via via e-mail that it sold 963 vehicles in the U.S. in March, a gain of more than fourfold from 218 a year earlier.