Mercedes Sales Top BMW in September - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum
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Mercedes Sales Top BMW in September

By Douglas A. McIntyre October 2, 2014 6:38 am EDT

In the monthly race among luxury car sales, Mercedes bested BMW in September. Both manufacturers deny the numbers are important. They would rather have profitable sales than large ones. However, neither can completely hide the value of bragging rights.

Mercedes sales in September reached 29,523, up 10.7%. BMW sales were 25,586, or 11% higher. Mercedes also holds a slim lead for the first nine months of the year. For the period, Mercedes sales rose 9% to 250,996. BMW’s improvement was 11.7% to 236,591.

Several other luxury cars would like to claim their sales are enough to put them in the league BMW and Mercedes sales occupy. They have no proof, however. German rival Audi posted sales of 130,983 for the first nine months. Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) luxury line, Lexus, had sales of 220,683 for the period. The balance of the luxury market almost does not matter.

One of the benefits of marketing luxury cars is that sales of the entire category are strong. For the first nine months of the year, total vehicle sales rose 5.5% to 12,431,305, which puts the industry on pace to have one of the best years in its history. Mercedes and BMW have done much better in terms of growth.

The reasons for luxury sales improvements have been explained by a rise in the income of the top 1% of Americans in terms of income. That group may not be large enough to support luxury sales, so perhaps the segment is the top 5%. Either way, the average price of BMWs and Mercedes is around $50,000, compared to an industry average of $33,000, according to Kelly Blue Book, one of the carefully followed research firms that track the industry.

If a high-end luxury car is an outward sign of wealth, rich Americans must like to signal how well they are doing, at least in terms of the brands they buy with the buckets of money they have. Mercedes and BMW should bless them.


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