BMW Targets Fifth Record Year With 15 New Models

BMW AG is targeting a fifth consecutive record in annual deliveries as 15 new models including the 2-Series convertible and the coupe-style X6 sport-utility vehicle go on sale and demand continues to recover in Europe.

“We are confident that 2015 will see the momentum we’ve generated in the last years continue and that we will increase sales,” said Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing. “In Europe overall, sales should continue to recover, especially in those southern European markets which are starting from a fairly low level.”

Germany’s luxury-car makers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are locked in a battle for the global lead in the segment, which Munich-based BMW has held since 2005. Second-place Audi further narrowed the lead last year and plans to spend 24 billion euros ($28 billion) on technology and production in the next five years in a bid to grab the top spot in sales by 2020.

In addition to the ongoing recovery in Europe from a two-decade low, BMW sees further growth in U.S. and Asian markets. Overall, the company forecasts its deliveries rising by a single-digit percent. That could be slower than last year’s rate when rivals already grew faster.

Audi Gains

BMW sold a total of 2.12 million cars last year, including Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles, for a gain of 7.9 percent. Growth was paced by a 9.5 percent increase at the namesake brand to 1.81 million cars. With Audi rising by 11 percent and posting a new sales record of 1.74 million autos in 2014, BMW’s lead over Audi narrowed to 70,619 from 79,658 a year ago.

Audi aims to put further pressure on BMW this year with a revamped version of the Q7 SUV, which can hit 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in just 6.1 seconds and will go head-to-head with BMW’s popular X5.

No. 3 Mercedes, which had the fastest growth pace among the three last year with sales rising 13 percent to 1.65 million vehicles, introduced the GLE Coupe at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The SUV will vie with the BMW X6 for drivers seeking a sportier family car.

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