Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz regained the U.S. luxury-vehicle sales lead for the year over Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s BMW brand with April deliveries rising 24 percent, the biggest gain of any premium brand.
U.S. sales of Mercedes vehicles rose to 22,336 last month while BMW deliveries increased 12 percent to 21,062, according to statements yesterday by the companies. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Lexus brand, the top luxury seller for 11 years through 2010, slipped 0.1 percent to 17,551.
Mercedes and BMW, which overtook Lexus last year to become the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S., are competing for the 2012 sales crown. BMW, based in Munich, finished the first quarter with a 36 vehicle lead over Mercedes.
April results lifted Mercedes sales for the year 17 percent to 83,849, giving the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker a 1,238 vehicle lead after four months over BMW, which had a sales increase of 16 percent. Lexus deliveries rose 2.6 percent to 66,647 during the first four months of the year.
“I don’t see one of them pulling ahead dramatically,” said Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar.com, a website that tracks auto sales. “You’re going to see this back-and-fourth for the rest of the year.”
The results exclude Daimler’s Sprinter vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.
Mercedes sales were helped by deliveries of the updated C-Class sedan, up 23 percent, and M-Class sport-utility vehicle, up 54 percent, the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker said in a statement.
The BMW and Mercedes sales race extends beyond the U.S. borders. The two are locked in a global battle along with Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi luxury brand.
Audi deliveries rose 15 percent in the U.S. last month to 11,521, the 16th consecutive month of record sales, the premium brand of Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW, said in a statement. After four months, Audi’s sales this year rose 16 percent to 40,991, pushing it past General Motors Co. (GM:US)’s Cadillac brand at 40,817.
Cadillac fell 25 percent to 9,851 in April as the luxury brand suffered from the elimination of old models before new ones reach dealers later this year. Cadillac sales slid 24 percent through April, the company said in a statement.
“The other luxury makes are being very aggressive in the marketplace,” Kurt McNeil, Cadillac’s vice president in charge of sales, said on a conference call yesterday. “Their incentive spend is up anywhere from 10 to 50 percent.”
Acura, Porsche, Infiniti
Honda Motor Co. (7267), based in Tokyo, said in a statement that sales for its Acura brand rose 4.9 percent to 12,175 last month.
Porsche AG (PAH3), the Stuttgart-based automaker, sold 3,437 vehicles in the U.S., an 8.4 percent increase, the company said in a statement.
Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s Infiniti sold 7,129 vehicles, a 5.4 percent gain from a year earlier, the Yokohama, Japan-based company, said in a statement.
Ford Motor Co. (F:US) sold 6,308 Lincolns in April, a 13 percent decline from a year earlier, according to a statement from the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker.
Land Rover deliveries rose 10 percent to 3,292, while Jaguar sales declined 14 percent to 1,073, the U.K. brands, owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd (TTMT), said in an e-mail.
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