BMW Sales Crater as Mercedes Inches Up

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BMW’s sales fell 8.0% in August to 25,531. For the year, sales have fallen 8.3% to 204,744. Rival Mercedes had a 3.0% sales increase last month to 31,556. For the year they were up 1.3% to 241,890. While both cars’ sales profitability is more important than volume, it appears now that bragging rights for 2016 sales will go to Mercedes.

When sales of its tiny smart car and vans are backed out, the German car company reported:

“We are on track for a strong finish to the third quarter, fueled by a best-ever result for August,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of MBUSA. “Demand remains high for our SUVs and dream cars such as the new SL and S-Class Cabriolet, and we expect to build upon this momentum in the coming months.”

Mercedes-Benz volume leaders in August included the C-Class, E-Class (including the CLS) and GLC model lines. The C-Class took the lead at 6,125, followed by the E-Class at 5,069. The GLC, rounded out the top three with 4,715 units sold.

Two of Mercedes’ best-selling vehicles have carried virtually all the German car company’s success year to date. GLC/GLK sales have rise 72% to 31,517 over the period. Sales of the G-Class have risen 22.2% to 2,724. The GLC is one of Mercedes entry-level sport utility vehicles (SUVs), with a base price of $39,150.

Mercedes’ rival announced:

Sales of BMW brand vehicles decreased 8.0 percent in August for a total of 25,531 compared to 27,755 vehicles sold in August, 2015.  Year-to-date, the BMW brand is down 8.3 percent in the U.S. on sales of 204,744 vehicles compared to 223,348 sold in the first eight months of 2015.

Notable vehicle sales in August include the BMW 7 Series which increased to 1,230 cars, the BMW X3 which increased to 4,668 vehicles, and the BMW X5 which increased to 4,121 vehicles.

“The clear trend toward Sports Activity Vehicles took a good-sized leap forward in August, as our U.S. plant again increased production and availability of the always popular BMW X3 and X5 pushing total X model sales to 44% of BMW retail in the U.S. in August,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America. “With the production increase, I fully expect the key SAV numbers to remain strong in the U.S. through the end of the year.”

The company’s sales would be even worse without its SUV sales. The mid-level X5 had sales of 4,121, up 47%. However, year to date, sales are off 23.4% to 29,069. The less expensive X3 is a more unqualified success. Sales in August were up 119.5% to 4,668. Year to date, they are up 53.1% to 27,174.

Neither car company would have posted the results it did without the success of the SUVs.