BMW Trims Mercedes’s 2013 Luxury Lead as 3 Series Demand Soars

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG boosted U.S. sales of its 3 Series cars 63 percent last month, helping the automaker set a June record and narrowing the luxury-vehicle lead of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz.

Deliveries of the BMW brand rose 25 percent in June to 27,074, while Mercedes reported a 9.8 percent gain from a year earlier to 24,415, according to statements yesterday. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus posted a 6.7 percent increase to 21,355.

The monthly results trim Mercedes’s lead this year to 1,519 vehicles as the two German automakers vie for the annual sales crown BMW has held for two years. Through May, Munich-based BMW had trailed Mercedes by 4,178 vehicles. Luxury-auto makers are benefiting from broader lineups with more affordable prices, said Alec Gutierrez, a Kelley Blue Book analyst.

“It’s part of a prevailing trend of near-luxury sales overall,” Gutierrez, who is based in Irvine, California, said in an interview yesterday. “The available lease offers on 3 Series has been a pretty significant driver, too. We’ve seen promotions from the low- to mid-$300s a month. Even the 335 can be had for $400 a month. That’s a lot of car for $400 a month.”

Mercedes sales for the year through June gained 10 percent to 141,950, Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler said. BMW said its deliveries for the period rose 11 percent to 140,431. The figures don’t include Daimler’s cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.

Top Seller

Sales of BMW’s 3 Series, its top-selling model, surged to 10,957, helped by the new 320i, which starts at $32,550. BMW introduced the redesigned 3 Series in February 2012. Mercedes was led by gains of 17 percent to 7,639 for the C-Class sedan and 37 percent to 2,806 for the GLK-Class sport-utility vehicle.

BMW didn’t offer an all-wheel-drive version of the 3 Series until September 2012. The automaker is adding a GT and versions of a sport wagon and sedan fueled by diesel this year, Kenn Sparks, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Lexus reported a monthly increase of 50 percent for the ES sedan. The Toyota City, Japan-based company’s luxury brand said it sold 118,415 vehicles this year through June, up 9.5 percent. Lexus was the annual U.S. sales leader for 11 years until natural disasters in Asia curtailed 2011 output.

BMW’s status as annual leader for 2012 is based on reported sales. By vehicle registrations, Mercedes topped BMW last year, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co.

Cadillac, Audi

General Motors Co.’s Cadillac luxury-brand deliveries rose 15 percent in June to 13,929 on demand for the new ATS and XTS sedans. Those models accounted for 42 percent of monthly sales. Through June, Cadillac sales climbed 33 percent to 83,679, Detroit-based GM said in a statement.

“The luxury segment has been quite strong so far this year,” said Gutierrez, the Kelley Blue Book analyst. “GM in the case of the Cadillac has had the right products available at the right time.”

U.S. sales of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand rose 8.2 percent to 13,706, according to a statement. June was the brand’s 30th straight month of record sales. The gains included 13 percent for the A5 sedan and 26 percent for the Q5 SUV. Sales for the year have risen 14 percent to 74,277, Audi’s best first half since it began U.S. sales in 1970.

Porsche, the Stuttgart-based automaker that’s now part of Volkswagen, posted a 23 percent gain in June to 3,700 vehicles in the U.S., a record for the month.

Honda Motor Co.’s Acura sales fell 10 percent to 13,765 last month, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement.

Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti slid 13 percent to 9,114, according to statement from the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker.

Ford Motor Co. sold 7,469 Lincolns in June, a 1 percent decline from a year earlier, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker reported.

Land Rover sales dropped 3.7 percent last month to 3,468, while Jaguar’s surged 59 percent to 1,637, according to a statement. The U.K.-based brands are owned by Tata Motors Ltd., which has its headquarters in Mumbai.

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