BMW Outsells Mercedes in June to Narrow U.S. Luxury Sales Gap

  • Mercedes holds first-half lead of more than 9,000 deliveries
  • None of the three biggest premium brands posts six-month gain

BMW AG’s namesake brand outsold Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus last month in the U.S. as all three of the market’s largest sellers of luxury autos ended the first half behind their year-earlier totals.

Deliveries for BMW in June slid 10 percent to 28,855, according to a statement Friday. Even so, it topped the 28,473 sales by Daimler AG’s Mercedes, a 1.5 percent gain from a year earlier and a June record. Lexus reported a 1.3 percent decline to 25,779.

June was the first month this year that BMW outsold its two rivals, after capturing the full-year sales crown in 2014 and 2015. BMW relies more on cars than sport utility vehicles, running counter to the recent preference of U.S. consumers. The Munich-based automaker finished the first half with sales down 9 percent to 153,436, trailing Mercedes by more than 9,000 deliveries.

“It’s a tale of two markets,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader.com. “Sport utilities are doing far better than cars.”

Sales of BMW’s X3 SUV were up 69 percent last month and its 2 Series cars more than doubled. But the brand posted declines of 2.8 percent for cars and 24 percent for SUVs.

Mercedes reported gains of 48 percent for GLK and GLC sport utility vehicles and 28 percent for the GLE and M-Class SUVs, along with a 5.8 percent increase for the revamped E-Class cars. The brand closed out the first half with a 1.3 percent decline from a year earlier.

The sales figures don’t include BMW’s Mini models or Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler’s work trucks and Smart cars, which aren’t luxury vehicles.

The four SUVs sold by Lexus showed an 11 percent increase in June, while its car models declined 14 percent. Deliveries for the luxury division of Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota for the first six months fell 4.6 percent.

Alec Gutierrez, a Kelley Blue Book analyst, said instability in the financial markets caused by the U.K. vote to pull out of the European Union may put some pressure on the luxury-auto market in the second half.

For the total U.S. auto market, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg in June on average predicted 2016 auto sales will come in below 17.7 million. That’s down from a forecast of 17.8 million at the beginning of the year.

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