Mercedes Cuts BMW Lead in U.S. Luxury Sales as December Looms

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Mercedes-Benz, seeking to retain its U.S. luxury-auto sales crown, narrowed BMW’s lead heading into the year’s final month, helped by demand for the redesigned C-Class cars.

Mercedes, a Daimler AG unit, delivered 34,578 vehicles last month, a 0.6 percent gain from a year earlier that included an 18 percent surge to 9,259 for the C-Class. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW brand yesterday reported a 2.3 percent drop to 31,019 as sales of its sport-utility vehicles slid 14 percent.

That leaves BMW with sales this year of 298,212 vehicles, 1,830 more that Mercedes’s 296,382. The Daimler unit, which claimed the 2013 title, trimmed Munich-based BMW’s lead from 5,389 through October. December is the biggest month for luxury-auto sales, capped by a blitz in the final week, Jeff Bracken, U.S. general manager for Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand, told reporters on Nov. 24 in Detroit.

“This is the month that our dealers and customers really look forward to,” Bracken said. “It makes for an exciting time. Our industry is about emotion, right? Thank goodness. And we certainly plan to be shoulder to shoulder there with all of our competitors.”

Lexus said sales climbed 7.3 percent to 27,472 in November, as deliveries rose 16 percent to 4,610 for the IS sedan and 1 percent to 9,592 for the RX SUV. The brand’s sales for the year have gained 14 percent to 271,510, for third place.

Audi, the luxury unit of Volkswagen AG, said sales jumped 22 percent to 16,640, including 2,511 deliveries for the new entry-level A3 sedan and gains of 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively, for the Q5 and Q7 SUVs. For the year, Audi sales have risen 15 percent to 162,773.

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

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