For the first time in four months, Mercedes-Benz outsold arch-rival BMW in July, as sales for the BMW brand fell 7.7 percent. However, the BMW Group (BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce) handily outsold the Mercedes Car Group (Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Maybach).

A combination of factors are weighing down the BMW group at the moment:
  • MINI production is temporarily limited as the U.K. plant undergoes a major expansion
  • 3 Series coupe sales are slumping ahead of the new model's rollout in September
  • SUV customers are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for BMW's X3 and X5 models to get an overdue freshening (scheduled for August and late this year, respectively)
  • MINI sales are likely to taper off ahead of the introduction of the new model later this year.
Nonetheless, BMW is holding to its forecast of record unit sales in 2006.

[Source: Reuters]