Mercedes holds its lead over BMW in U.S. luxury race

Despite an anemic 0.6 percent increase in November U.S. sales, Mercedes-Benz remained No. 1 among luxury brands last month.

Mercedes sold 31,022 vehicles in the month, excluding commercial vans. Sales by No. 2 BMW inched 1 percent higher to 28,330 vehicles in November.

Lexus sales fell 2.5 percent to 26,446. Audi’s deliveries fell 11 percent to 17,082 units.

Year to date, Mercedes has sold 283,943 luxury vehicles, down 6 percent from the same period a year ago. In comparison, BMW reported sales of 276,657 vehicles for the first 11 months, up 1.9 percent. Lexus volume for the year has dropped 2.6 percent to 262,786. Audi has risen 0.5 percent to 200,558 deliveries.

Overall, U.S. luxury sales inched up 1.1 percent to 181,602 in November. For the year to date, luxury sales fell 0.3 percent to 1,809,974 deliveries.

December should be a strong month for luxury brands, as they traditionally push deals to close out the year, and several compete for the luxury sales crown, noted Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

“Healthy luxury sales should continue into 2019, as a slew of new luxury SUVs will hit the market over the course of the year,” Anand said.



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Mercedes-Benz, which is chasing a third consecutive U.S. luxury crown, is bullish on its prospects.

“We anticipate a solid close to the final weeks of 2018,” Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, said in a statement.

Mercedes-Benz volume leaders in November included the GLC, C-class and E-class model lines.

The GLC took the lead, at 6,199, followed by C-class sales of 5,777. The E class rounded out the top three, with 5,181 units sold. November sales of Mercedes-AMG high-performance vehicles totaled 3,070 units, with 24,808 vehicles sold year to date.

BMW brand sales increased for the 13th consecutive month. Crossovers accounted for 56 percent of November sales.

The all-new BMW X5 and BMW X3 together represented one out of every three BMW vehicles sold in the U.S. in November. The X3 was the top-selling BMW model in the U.S. for the ninth consecutive month.

Electrified vehicles accounted for 7.7 percent of BMW Group’s U.S. sales last month. Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids totaled 2,314 in November, down about 15 percent from a year ago.

“The public wants range, and the public wants SUVs,” Anand said. “Automakers who meet those needs will be well-positioned in the EV space.”

Porsche Cars North America reported November U.S. sales of 5,673 vehicles, a 2.1 percent uptick from the same time last year. Retail sales for the first 11 months climbed 3.1 percent to 53,116.

Porsche’s November sales were fueled by strong demand for the Macan, the new-generation Cayenne and the Panamera. The Porsche 911 accelerated to more than 1,000 deliveries in a month for the first time this year.

The Macan was the brand’s top seller in November, at 2,101 vehicles, or 37 percent of all Porsches sold in the month.

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