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Mercedes Sales Surge Ahead of BMW in September

In what is usually a close race, luxury car company Mercedes readily topped its rival BMW in sales in September. Mercedes sold 31,337 vehicles, up 6.1% from the same month a year ago, to BMW’s 31,337, up 4%. Just a few models made the difference.

Mercedes also has taken a lead over BMW in the first nine months of 2015 sales. Mercedes has sold 270,157 units, up 7.6%, to BMW’s 249,956, up 5.9%.

The primary reason BMW did not have a better month was sales of its popular X5 SUV fell 42.6% to 2,525. This light truck and BMW’s X3 make up most of the company’s sport utility vehicle sales in the United States. For the first nine months, the X5 sales have been much better, up 22.6% to 40,490.

Sales of the BMW 4 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe dropped 40% to 2,726. The 4 Series is in the middle of BMW’s car range, based on price. Sales of the 4 Series for the first nine months rose 20.9% to 33,762.

Management’s observations about its successes in September spoke for themselves:

In September, notable vehicle sales included the BMW 3 Series which increased 10.6 percent to 9,145 vehicles, the BMW X3 which increased 67.8 percent to 3,033 vehicles and the BMW 5 Series which increased from 1,407 to 4,059 vehicles, compared to September a year ago.

Mercedes particular strengths came from the sales of its mid-range E-Series, with unit sales of 5,647, up 17%, and its GL Class, with sales up 19.8% to 2,349. The worst news posted by Mercedes for the month was sales of its C-Class entry model, which fell 18.8% to 6,389. The C-Class is Mercedes’ best-selling model line.

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Mercedes’ comments about the month:

September sales for the Mercedes-Benz brand were led by the C-, E- and M-Class model lines. The sporty C-Class took the top spot at 6,389 units sold, followed by the E-Class with sales of 5,647 vehicles, up 17.0%. MBUSA’s top-selling SUV, the M-Class, rounded out the top three at 3,180 units, a 30.4% increase over the same period last year.

While not a close horse race, BMW and Mercedes still handily topped sales of rivals Audi from Volkswagen, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Cadillac and Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Lincoln.

By Douglas A. McIntyre