US auto sales race: BMW pips Mercedes

BMW topped its rival in the US luxury auto market for the first time this year, eking out a monthly sales increase and gaining ground on Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz. Deliveries of the X3 and X5 sport utility vehicles climbed 43 percent and 35 percent last month, respectively, pacing BMW’s total sales of 31015 vehicles. The Munich-based automaker outsold Mercedes by about 1900 units in March. As plummeting demand for passenger cars led most automakers to miss analysts’ estimates last month, BMW managed to keep deliveries of its 3 Series and 5 Series models roughly flat compared with a year earlier.

The victory in March pulled BMW to within 7500 vehicle sales of Mercedes through the first three months of the year. Bernhard Kuhnt, the chief executive of BMW’s North American unit, says that they are optimistic for the months ahead. BMW ceded the global sales title to Mercedes in 2016, falling behind its rival for the first time in years. Chief executive Harald Krueger is planning to respond by unveiling 40 vehicles over the next two years, the biggest roll-out of new and revamped models in BMW’s history. Its sedan-heavy line-up has put it at a disadvantage in a market where Americans are increasingly opting for crossovers. Read more

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