BMW beats Mercedes-Benz with record sales last year

BMW and Mercedes-Benz both say they hit record sales in the U.S. last year, but BMW walked away with the statistic that mattered above all others: beating its German luxury archrival — again.

BMW says it had sales of 347,583, an increase of 13.8% over 2011, eclipsing the number of vehicles sold in its previous peak year of 2007. BMW includes the Mini brand. BMW, counted thus, beat Mercedes on sales last year, as well.

Mercedes-Benz says it sold 305,072 vehicles, a 15.4% increase. It includes the Smart car and the Sprinter commercial van.

If the makers want to fight about it, they legitimately could.

The BMW brand, excluding Mini, chalked up 247,907 sales for the year. The Mercedes-Benz brand, sans the other nameplates, hit 295,013, according to tallymaster Autodata.

Those numbers reverse the results, putting M-B atop BMW.


Regardless, BMW finished the year on a strong note, showing a 34.8% increase over the same month last year.

“To turn months of critically short supply into the best year ever for the BMW Group in the U.S. is a monumental achievement,” says CEO Ludwig Willisch of BMW of North America. “The post-recession sales momentum that started in 2010 reached an unprecedented level in December, making us strongly confident and optimistic as we enter 2013.”

It said sales of its 5 Series sedan were especially strong, up 10.3%. Sales of the less-popular 6 Series doubled. And sales of its South Carolina-made X3 crossover rose 26.6%.

Mini had its best December for sales ever.

Mercedes-Benz says its 31,372 in December marked its best for the month ever, up 12 from the same month in 2011.

New models and a strong dealer network “put the wind at our back and enabled us to outperform the market and take the brand to new heights in the U.S.,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “We’re going to ride that momentum into 2013 with new products across the entire model line from entry point to flagship.”

The flagship is a new S Class, Mercedes’ fanciest model.