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BMW goes for back-to-back sales crowns

Good sport: Sales of the BMW 3 Series have been lifted by the arrival of the M Sport variant, with over 50 per cent of buyers choosing the sporty model last month.

‘Natural’ sales appear to be a winner for BMW over Mercedes in 2012 race

BMW logo12 Nov 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

BMW hopes to clinch back-to-back annual sales wins over arch-rival Mercedes-Benz in Australia this year, but says it will not resort to discounting to ensure it.

BMW is holding a lead of 564 passenger car and SUV sales – 15,232 vehicles to 14,668 – over Mercedes in the 10 months to the end of October, according to the most recent official VFACTS figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

This excludes Mercedes’ 3463 truck and van sales, as BMW does not sell these types of vehicles.

Fellow German brand Audi has slipped a notch this year, with its sales down 3.0 per cent, to 12,096 units, after several years of fast growth.

Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz Australia conceded it would struggle to catch BMW in 2012, given BMW’s new model program that included almost a full year of its new 3 Series, on top of its new 1 Series that was renewed in 2011.

BMW Group Australia head of corporate communications Piers Scott told GoAuto at last week’s M6 launch that BMW believed it could maintain its lead through to December 31.

 center imageFrom top: BMW 1 Series, 5 Series, X5 and X6.

He said that, although Mercedes’ C-Class had outsold BMW’s 3 Series in October, the arrival of the 3 Series M Sport in the second half of this year had lifted sales.

“A lot of 3 Series customers have been waiting for M Sport,” he said. “More than 50 per cent of 3 Series last month were M Sport.

“That gives an indication of how popular that option is, and I am sure that will see a further lift in 3 Series sales.”

Mr Scott said BMW would not force sales over the final two months of the year to gain sales bragging rights over Mercedes.

“The figures you see now are based on true customer demand for new and older models in the range,” he said.

“With models like the new 3 Series and 1 Series, we have built a lot of value into the car. The main thing is we just want to protect customers in terms of residual values.”

BMW’s sales this year are up 9.3 per cent, while Mercedes-Benz’s sales have climbed 6.3 per cent.

Head to head, Mercedes has sold more passenger cars – 11,936 to 9199 – while BMW has a big advantage in SUVs (6033 to 2732).

BMW’s ageing X5, which is due for replacement in about a year, has managed to hang on to its sales advantage over Mercedes’ M-Class that received an all-new model this year.

This year, M-Class sales are up 28.6 per cent, to 2201 units, while X5 sales have risen 5.4 per cent, to 2381 units. As well, BMW has sold 335 of the related X6 SUV, up 25.9 per cent.

Despite the arrival of the new 3 Series sedan early this year, the Mercedes C-Class leads the mid-size luxury car segment, 5254 to 4329.

The battle of the luxury large sedans is neck and neck, with the 5 Series just in front of the E-Class, 886 to 877.

The Mercedes S-Class leads the limo stoush over the 7 Series, 90 to 79, while the Mercedes C-Class Coupe comfortably leads the 3 Series Coupe/Convertible in the luxury sports category, 1960 to 628.

Next year, the status quo will be shaken up with the arrival of the all-new front-drive A-Class in about March, while BMW will replace the 3 Series Coupe and Convertible with a new-look 4 Series in the second half of the year.

The challenge for BMW will be to maintain the ascendency of its successful X5 in the final year of its life, ahead of an all-new model in about a year.

Last year, BMW grabbed the sales lead back from Mercedes when it sold 17,508 units to 16,870.

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