Mercedes-Benz and Audi Just Outsold BMW

2015-mercedes-benz-cla-class

BMW has been the benchmark of luxury car sales in the United States for decades. The BMW 3 Series, 5 Series, X3, and X5 have provided the German automaker with ample opportunity to dominate sales charts here.

Worldwide, though, the other two German companies have been slowly inching closer to the sales king by offering what many consider to be better-designed cars that provide superior value. Mercedes-Benz and Audi are top-tier luxury players and last month both managed to outsell their cross-country rival.

Does this mean we have a new champ in the luxury and performance category? Not yet. But BMW ought to quickly come up with a plan to keep itself on top.

Mercedes-Benz sold upwards of 150,000 vehicles in January of this year. Audi moved more than 143,000 vehicles while BMW sold “only” 134,000.

BMW is still the leader when looking at year-to-year numbers, with 1.91 million cars sold in 2015 compared with Mercedes-Benz’s 1.87 million and Audi’s 1.8 million. It’s obviously a close race, but 11 more months like January would drop BMW from first to third place.

Mercedes and Audi have both revamped their lineups and offer customers a wider selection of crossover SUVs and entry-level models. Those models result in increased sales and add new customers into the brand ladder, which can lead to increased sales of higher-priced cars as those customers trade up in future years.

One market that BMW should hold onto in the coming years is the enthusiast crowd. BMW’s M cars are prized for their responsiveness, handling, and power. The upcoming M2, according to BMW,

… symbolizes enthusiast driving in its purest form. Incredibly, it combines the joy of driving a nimble and responsive 2 Series with the unadulterated power and grip of a true BMW M model– and the result is a one-of-a-kind driving experience.

Neither Audi nor Mercedes-Benz currently offers a car that can easily persuade an M driver to leave BMW. However, BMW doesn’t currently have a sedan that can be taken home for around 30 grand. According to the automakers’ websites, the most basic 3 Series will cost about $34,000 and won’t include a sunroof or leather seating, while a $30,900 Audi A3 will come with both. Equip the 3 Series with the moonroof and leather seats and you’ll need to write a check for about $39,495.

Buyers today are exceptionally value-conscious and entry-level luxury cars will likely fuel growth for Mercedes and Audi in the years ahead.

Would you buy an entry-level Audi or Mercedes-Benz over a similarly equipped BMW?

-tgriffith

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4 Comments

  1. Would I buy an entry level BmW over a Mercedes or Audi? No. Audi’s still have the FWD bias instead of a proper RWD bias and I would not purchase any of their “entry” level vehicles as they have no performance. I’d much prefer a Dodge Charger SRT-8 Superbee or a Chevrolet SS in the same price range.

  2. Neither Mercedes or Audi offers a vehicle that can easily persuade an M driver to leave BMW??? Have you driven any of the newer vehicles?? BMW is actually falling behind with the newest version of the M3 and even the Cadillac ATS-V has been described as more M3 like than the BMW M3. What about the Mercedes C63 S or E63 S ? I think either of these make a very good showing against an M3 and M5 as well as the ML63 (forget what the moniker is now for the 16 models) vs the X5/X6Ms. Of course Audi has their own S6 here in the states and the R version in Europe to compete with the M class. BMW is fending off not only extremely credible challenges from Mercedes but also Cadillacs (ATSV and CTSV) that outperform their cars.

  3. BMW set the bar so high for so long, but now everyone else is meeting or exceeding the standards BMW had previously set. I don’t think BMW is one to rest on their laurels, but I think they have to take notice of the competition’s offerings and realize that BMW can no longer get by on name alone.

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