March 2016 sales: Mercedes still ahead of BMW as leader of the luxury car market

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Mercedes clinched the world’s luxury car market leader title in the first quarter, the best-ever in its entire history. The brand’s sales soared twice as fast as those of rival BMW.

Daimler’s premium car brand delivered 483,487 vehicles in the first three months, 13% more than in the same period last year. Meanwhile, BMW reported only a 6 percent increase with 478,743 cars sold through March while Audi’s sales rose a more modest 4 percent to 455,750 units.

With Mercedes sales rising twice as fast as BMW, it is already safe to assume Daimler’s passenger car division is only getting closer and closer to its medium-term goal of dethroning BMW from the premium car market global lead, for the first time in a decade.

If we put the montly results for March under scrutiny, the picture is in fact a bit rosier for BMW which managed to climb back on the first spot with 201,352 cars versus 198,921 vehicles for Mercedes and 186,100 for Audi.

Looking strictly at the sales boost percentage wars, though, Mercedes is again growing twice as fast as its rival. Sales soared 8.4 percent compared with a 2.9 percent increase for the Bavarian brand and 4.6 percent for Audi. In fact, Mercedes-Benz has achieved this March the highest monthly unit sales in the company’s history.

Unit sales by region and market

Mercedes set new records in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region last month, taking the premium market leader crown in major markets like Japan, Canada, Australia, Taiwan and Portugal.

Sales in Europe totalled 97,748 units in March (+9.8%), of which 28,316 vehicles were delivered to customers in Germany (+4.4%). In the first quarter, Mercedes-Benz achieved double-digit growth in Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Portugal. BMW also announced a sales increase of 9.5% in Europe, while Audi was up 7,3%. Audi did manage to surpass Mercedes on its home market: 30,923 cars (+10.8%) versus 28,316 (+4,4%).

Mercedes’ NAFTA performance has overcome the negative sales momentum in the region (-4,4%) with 32,856 units in March. In the USA, the Stuttgart based company with the three-pointed star handed over 28,164 vehicles to customers (-5.9%), maintaining its position as the market leased among the premium manufacturers in March. If BMW’s sales decreased as well (even stronger, at -10.8%), Audi was the only premium maker who saw its fortunes rise in the U.S. with 18,392 units and a 7.5 percent increase last month.

 In the Asia-Pacific region, Mercedes sales rose by 17.9% to 63,888. In China, 38,133 units were sold in the third month of the year, an increase of 26.6%. Audi and BMW have also announced soaring deliveries in China while in Japan, Australia and Taiwan, Mercedes-Benz maintained its market leadership among the premium manufacturers.

Mercedes wants to be No.1

Mercedes official goal is to overtake BMW by 2018. Increasing demand for all-new models like the GLC SUV and the fifth-generation E-Class this year could score a big surprise, helping Daimler’s luxury brand to become No.1 faster than estimated. Additionaly, more than 150,000 compact cars were sold in the first quarter (+25.8%), corresponding to a growth in unit sales of 21.9% compared with the prior-year month.And the overall sales momentum for the brand is only bound to accelerate in the next quarter, thanks to the new E-Class.

Brand March 2016Change from 2015January- March 2016Change from 2015
Europe 977480.0982105860.124
thereof Germany283160.044648460.079
thereof USA28164-0.05975769-0.031
thereof Japan8168-0.09317601-0.063
thereof China381330.2661066410.364
Audi 1861000.0464557500.04
Europe 973000.0732223500.073
thereof Germany309230.108812630.11
China 509860.0541395400.047
*Regional sales including MINI

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