BMW’s March sales narrows Mercedes’ U.S. luxury sales lead

BMW posted its best March sales ever, helping the German luxury-automaker shrink Mercedes-Benz’s 2014 lead.

BMW sold 32,107 vehicles last month, an increase of 19 per cent from a year earlier, led by its mid-size sedans and SUVs. Mercedes, a Daimler AG unit, sold 27,401 vehicles in March, a gain of 11 per cent from a year earlier, led by its top- of-the-line S-Class sedan and entry-level SUV, the GLK, according to a statement yesterday.

BMW reported a combined 14 per cent increase to 10,120 deliveries for its 3 Series and 4 Series and a 46 percent jump to 4,430 for the X3 SUV. Sales of Mercedes’s S-Class, which starts at $92,900, almost doubled to 2,299 in March. Deliveries of the GLK, its most affordable SUV at a starting price of $37,480, rose 24 percent to 3,345.

Mercedes’s lead over BMW for the year narrowed to 237 vehicles, from 4,943 at the end of February. Munich-based BMW ceded the annual U.S. luxury-sales crown to Mercedes in 2013, ending a two-year reign.

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

For all of last year, Mercedes outsold BMW by 3,254 units, in results by reported sales. By vehicle registrations, Mercedes outsold BMW by 2,270 last year, according to U.S.-based researcher R.L. Polk & Co., a unit of IHS Automotive.

Lexus, Audi

Toyota’s Lexus division posted a March increase of 23 per cent to 28,593. Sales more than doubled for the entry-level IS, to 4,893, and for the GX SUV, to 1,874, the Toyota City, Japan-based company said in a statement. Sales of the RX SUV rose 9.6 per cent to 9,943.

Audi sold 14,246 vehicles, a 7.5 per cent gain over the same period in 2013, for its best-ever March, according to a statement from the unit of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen. Audi has now increased sales for 39 consecutive months of record sales. The March results included a 46 per cent gain for its Q7 SUV and a 27 percent jump for its A6 sedan.

Honda reported that Acura sales rose more than 10 percent to 15,580 last month. The gains included an 81 per cent surge to 5,793 for the MDX SUV and an 18 per cent increase to 4,580 for the RDX, the Tokyo-based company said.

GM’s Cadillac reported a 6.3 per cent drop to 14,765, as deliveries fell or were unchanged for every model except the SRX crossover, which rose 24 per cent, and the CTS sedan, which rose 4.6 per cent. Sales of the ATS sedan, winner of last year’s North American Car of the Year award, declined 17 per cent to 2,982, GM said.

Lincoln, Infiniti

Nissan’s Infiniti sales gained 13 per cent to 12,494 in March, according to a statement from the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker. Infiniti’s top sellers were the Q50 sedan, still in its first year on the market, with 3,795, and the QX60 SUV, up 27 per cent to 3,340.

Monthly sales of Ford’s Lincoln brand jumped 31 percent to 8,969, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company reported. Deliveries of its MKZ sedan rose 72 per cent to 4,052.

Porsche, the Stuttgart-based automaker that’s part of Volkswagen, said deliveries rose 9.2 per cent to 3,808, as its Cayenne SUV advanced 23 percent to 1,862.

Land Rover’s monthly sales climbed 2 percent to 4,399, also a March record for the brand, while Jaguar’s rose 29 percent to 1,816, according to a statement. The two brands are owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors

Maserati, a unit of Turin, Italy-based Fiat, said via via e-mail that it sold 963 vehicles in the U.S. in March, a gain of more than fourfold from 218 a year earlier.

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