BMW fended off a late-year surge by rival Mercedes-Benz to win its first title as best-selling luxury brand in the United States, Automotive News has reported.
BMW said that U.S. sales rose 15 percent to 26,834 in December, for an annual total of 247,907. Mercedes said its sales last month climbed 28 percent to 25,701, pushing its tally for the year to 245,192.
The results officially end Lexus' 11-year reign atop the U.S. luxury rankings. The Toyota Motor Corp. brand reeled after the March earthquake in Japan disrupted production, finishing the year down 13 percent at 198,552. Mercedes won the title once, in 1999, before ceding the U.S. crown to Lexus. Lincoln won in 1998, ending a string of Cadillac victories.
The announcements also capped an unusual end to the reporting of annual auto sales. BMW of North America and Mercedes-Benz USA were the only companies that failed to release U.S. totals along with the rest of the industry on Wednesday, drawing more attention to the luxury race.––Paul DucheneBack to News