BMW and Mercedes-Benz took a bit longer than other manufacturers to report their final sales figures for 2011, and some analysts believe the delay may have something to do with the fact that both automakers were vying for the sales crown among luxury makes. Long-time champion Lexus suffered production setbacks at the hands of the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan last March, which left the door open for the two German companies to make a move for the top slot. In the end, Mercedes-Benz announced its numbers first. BMW followed suit by revealing the company had bested its rival by fewer than 3,000 units.

But the story doesn't end there. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, Mercedes-Benz may have been pulling a few tricks in an attempt to nab the top spot. The site claims Mercedes-Benz was offering sizable bonuses to dealers who agreed to take a certain number of vehicles into their test fleets. Those models could then be listed as sold before being plopped onto the used lot with like-new warranties a day later.

That wouldn't be the first time an automaker has resorted to shell games in an attempt to swipe a sales crown. The Detroit Bureau reports Cadillac once had to recant its victory after playing similar tricks.


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  • 31 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      EvoVIII
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to see a BMW 760Li vs. Mercedes-Benz S600 in a jousting battle to determine the true winner of sales, lol.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EvoVIII
        [blocked]
      sjmoo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Haha, I find it funny how important sales supremacy is to luxury automakers. It would seem they would not want to be #1 to maintain some semblance of exclusivity. Also, I don't find MB's shell games to be anymore inane than BMW selling its vehicles below invoice during December. In both cases they were only hurting themselves by destroying their profit margins for a silly crown that no consumer actually cares about.
      Randy and Sally
      • 3 Years Ago
      Comment #22 It is all about what you like to have and drive .... people... figure it out by your own testing. Buy what you want.. If I like BMWs or ..???... Any other Car and you don't like that type ..who cares. Does anyone care that you say any brand car is better than another..not me ..? Get off it ... life is way too short and it is so short on how long you are going to drive "that" car. Just do it.
      Bobby
      • 3 Years Ago
      I feel that i should be celebrating after angrily saying that merc and bmw should be ahead of lexus...but i dont feel as proud considering the giant set back in japan due to all those disasters with even another earthquake a couple weeks ago. well congrats bmw and merc! i hope one day well be on top with a fair fight.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bobby
        [blocked]
      desinerd1
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think AutoBlog is using the word "Luxury" very loosely here. A 328i is as much luxury car as a Corolla. You have to add $10000 worth of options to bring it at par with a Lexus.
      Justin Campanale
      • 3 Years Ago
      BMW is not Mercedes or Lexus and should never try to be. BMw makes cars for enthusiasts, and it should remain that way. Bmw's purpose should be to make fun, lightweight, RWD cars, and even if it decreases sales, that is what should be done.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        [blocked]
          miketim1
          • 3 Years Ago
          "Driver-wise? Yes, BMW is more of a driver's car, whereas Mercedes (and Lexus by copying) stupidly resist making their cars driver-friendly. " Show me a BMW thats like the LFA ? The LFA hands down handles better then any BMW ever made and it faster then any of them also. The ISF is a awesome car.. who else can build a high performance four door and for the first time ever and it come out this good ? Lexus isnt copying any one their making their own path. BMW in fact has been playing catch up to Lexus in term of Hybrids and still haven't produced a hybrid car more efficient then a Lexus Hybrid
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          miketim1
          • 3 Years Ago
          " massively eclipsed by the C63 and M3 " Wrong. The ISF has lapped faster then the C63 before and put down very close time to the M3 even matching it on car and drivers lighting Lap. Not to mention the ISF will last longer and has better build quality then both the M3 and C63. The ISF is right on par it is not massively beaten by either and same goes for the M3 and C63 none are really massively beaten by the other... and in the real world the ISF and c63 would eat a M3. And just because YOU and I dont own a LFA doesn't mean you discredit it. That doesn't make any sense.. the LFA is what is leading the way for feature Lexus products so it matters ALOT.
          miketim1
          • 3 Years Ago
          Funny u call the ISF "decent" 416 hp, 371 tq, 170 mph out the box, RWD V8, track built suspension and brakes, 0-60 in 4.6, one of the fastest paddles shifter on the market and returns great MPG. Decent ? No a Civic is "decent" not a ISF. My beater Camry is decent... Learn how to use your words.
        miketim1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        Any one can make a enthusiasts car. The LFA on its own kicks every car in BMW line up. The C63 is a beast of a small car. An enthusiasts car isnt something with a BMW badge on it. If a auto maker just focus on one kind of car... they wont be around for long. They must cater to all kinds of vehicle needs.
        airchompers
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        what an ignorant thing to say. Modern BMWs are fat, bloated pigs compared to what they used to be. A 328i is 3400 lbs. What?! Audis weigh less and Audis have AWD. BMW should be ashamed.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @airchompers
          [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        [blocked]
          Ak74
          • 3 Years Ago
          @graphikzking upset Audi fan. No body gives a damn about your AWD. Get a life and drive your jetta.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          graphikzking
          • 3 Years Ago
          With the new watered down 535 series. It's really soft and plush. Just check out Edmunds head to head review of the 535 versus the a6 3.0t(supercharged). The a6 totally destroys it in 0-60, 1/4 mile and even braking. The a6 is just under 100lbs more in weight but it's awd versus rwd on the bmw. Oh, the bmw actually costs MORE when optioned the same as the audi and has less hp, and no awd. I know audi usually has a fwd biased on their awd system, but this system now has 60% rear bias. I don't normally like audi / vw but I think bmw is def not focusing on their driving performance, and more worried about more sales performance. I hate how every douche now seems to drive a debadged 328 and puts the M sign on it. Not bmws fault but whatever.
        EvoVIII
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        That's like saying Lexus is not Toyota. ..Oh wait!?!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Greg
        • 3 Years Ago
        You are very lucky! I would like to be provided with an S600 too!
      ken
      • 3 Years Ago
      It doesn't really matter. Everyone knows VW-Audi-Porsche is on fire.
      Ivan
      • 3 Years Ago
      MONTVALE, N.J. – Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today reported 264,460 vehicles sold in 2011!
      budokata
      • 2 Years Ago
      bmw is cheaper. this is the real reason why they sell more.
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