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Mercedes pours on the pain in luxury market

Class above: Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class is an increasingly dominant player in the medium luxury car segment, with sales up 35.8 per cent so far this year.

Record 4920 sales in June builds Mercedes-Benz’s lead over luxury rivals

5 Jul 2017

MERCEDES-BENZ put the pedal to the metal in the Australian new-vehicle market in June, piling on a monthly brand-record 4920 sales to leave its mainly German luxury car rivals in the dust, the latest VFACTS sales figures show.

Even when subtracting Mercedes’ commercial vehicle sales from the monthly result to even up the equation against BMW and Audi which don’t offer vans or trucks, it was still a walkover win to the three-pointed star brand – 4354 to BMW’s 2630 and Audi’s 2153.

In the first half of 2017, Mercedes delivered 19,820 passenger cars and SUVs – up 8.2 per cent on the same period of 2016 – while BMW sold 12,843 vehicles – down 18.5 per cent – and Audi 10,702 vehicles, down 12 per cent.

Impressively, one in five Benz cars sold in Australia this year has carried an AMG badge. If Mercedes-AMG was considered a stand-alone brand, its 3950 sales year-to-date would make it the number one luxury sports brand, ahead of long-time champion Porsche (2751).

The big gain for AMG has been the arrival of various six-cylinder “43” variants, such as the C43, which have added about 1500 units to the AMG tally, almost all of which have been incremental.

Mercedes has not had it so good in the SUV market where its sales this year are down 12.7 per cent, but its 6127 SUV sales were still sufficient to eclipse Audi’s 5203 units, if not BMW’s 6726.

But it is in passenger cars where Mercedes dominance shows. In six months, Benz has shifted 13,693 sedans, hatchbacks and wagons (+21.5%), compared with BMW’s 6117 (-31.6%) and Audi’s 5499 (-20%).

In others words, it has sold more passenger vehicles this year than its two major rivals put together.

Mercedes holds dominant positions in most luxury passenger car segments. For example, the combined sales of its mid-sized C-Class – Australia’s top-selling luxury passenger car – and CLA sedan account for more than half of all sales in their segment (53.4 per cent).

By comparison, BMW’s three contenders in the segment – including the one-time leader, the 3 Series – account for 15.5 per cent, while Audi’s two representatives, including the A4, make up 12.4 per cent.

In the luxury large-car class, Mercedes’ new E-Class holds sway, with 1107 sales compared with BMW 5-Series’ 795 and Audi A6’s 188.

If we combine the figures for the E-Class and CLS-Class, Mercedes holds a healthy 46.8 per cent of segment sales, compared with BMW’s 30.8 and Audi’s 8.9 per cent.

In the luxury small-car segment, Mercedes’ A-Class is having a ding-dong battle for class leadership with the Audi A3 – 2560 to 2483 respectively – but when Mercedes B-Class is added to the mix, Mercedes’ segment share balloons to 38.7 per cent, compared with Audi’s 28.9 per cent.

At the more affordable end of the luxury sportscar market, Mercedes has three contenders, swallowing up 55.2 per cent of segment sales.

The clear sales leader is the Benz C-Class coupe and convertible range, accounting for 1646 of the segment’s 3801 sales in the first six months of 2017.

For BMW and Audi, the prospect of a rampant Mercedes is about to get scarier with the addition of its new Nissan-sourced, Mercedes-pimped X-Class ute to take advantage of Australia’s burgeoning pick-up market by next year.

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