Pole position for BMW in 2014 sales race

Pole position for BMW in 2014 sales race

BMW has outsold German rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz in September thanks to strong demand in Europe, but the gap between the three luxury car brands has narrowed as they head into the final quarter of 2014.

The German car manufacturer says sales of its core premium brand rose 6.1% last month to 167,584 cars and SUV vehicles, beating its two direct competitors, Audi and Mercedes Benz, according to Reuters.

Adding sales of its Mini brand, BMW posted a new record for September in its European home region where closest challenger Audi suffered a 1.6% sales drop.

However, BMW, heading for a 10th straight year as global luxury-sales market leader, has seen its overall advantage over Audi shrink to 20,842 cars after nine months of 2014, compared with 28,836 at the same time in 2013.

The year-to-date gap between BMW and third-placed Mercedes-Benz has also shrunk to 124,336 vehicles from 146,946 autos in 2013, due to new model releases.

Mercedes-Benz is enjoying strong demand for a series of redesigned cars, including the E-Class and the flagship S-Class saloon. The Stuttgart-based brand also launched a new C-Class and the GLA offroader in March, paving the way for further improvement in the remainder of the year.

“However, the pecking order in the three-way German luxury sales battle is unlikely to change any time soon,” research firm IHS Automotive says.

Deliveries of BMW brand cars may jump 23% to 2.04 million models by 2019 from an estimated 1.66 million this year, according to research by IHS. By comparison, sales may rise 16% at Audi to 1.91 million and 12% at Mercedes to 1.67 million, IHS notes.

BMW says that its nine-month brand sales were up 9.1% to 1.32 million autos. Group deliveries, including the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, rose 6.5% in the first three quarters to a record 1.53 million vehicles.

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