GERMANY: Daimler's Mercedes outsells VW's Audi in November

By Graeme Roberts | 10 December 2013

Mercedes-Benz outsold Audi for the first time this year to become the world’s second largest luxury car brand in November as a new line of compacts lured customers.

Daimler's Mercedes delivered 133,440 cars and SUVs last month, an 11% year on year jump, Bloomberg reported. That beat the 132,050 cars sold by Volkswagen’s Audi. BMW defended its lead with its namesake brand delivering 149,663 vehicles last month, up 3.2% year on year.

November marked the fifth consecutive month sales gains by Mercedes outpaced increases at BMW and Audi. It was also the first month since December 2012 that M-B sold more than Audi, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche wants to overtake the German rivals after dropping to third in 2011.

A 54% surge in demand for compact models, including the four-door CLA coupe and A-Class hatchback, propelled Mercedes' growth. In addition to introducing the CLA in April, the brand revamped the S-Class flagship sedan and upgraded the upscale E-Class sedan in 2013.

“The current model cycle is very beneficial for Mercedes,” Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Commerzbank, told Bloomberg.

“Audi and BMW have to invest in new production capacities and the development of new models. Mercedes’s investment cycle has peaked and they are entering a phase of outperformance.”

After gains in November, Mercedes has already passed last year’s total deliveries. All three German luxury-car manufacturers are targeting sales records this year as demand from China and the US offset weakness in debt-strapped economies in Europe.

“Although conditions remain challenging in a number of European markets, in particular, we expect sales to continue to develop positively over the coming months,” Ian Robertson, BMW's sales and marketing chief, said.

“Our target of record sales for 2013 is now within reach.”

BMW sold 1.5m cars and SUVs to the end of November, an 8% gain. Mini sales edged 0.7% higher to 274,575 cars in the month the redesigned hatchback line was unveiled.

For the first 11 months of 2013, Mercedes remained in third place, with sales rising 11% to 1.32m vehicles, while Audi’s deliveries rose 7.4% to 1.44m.

Audi recently added a sedan to the A3 line alongside hatchback and wagon models and November sales of the compacts surged 41%.

Both Audi and Mercedes have vowed to surpass BMW in sales by the end of the decade. To win more customers, Audi said earlier this month that it plans to roll out the Q1 subcompact SUV in 2016 in an expansion of its crossover line. Mercedes is introducing the GLA compact SUV as part of a plan to bring out 13 new models by 2020. 

BMW November group sales rose 2.7% year on year to 174,996 cars.