It turns out that Mercedes-Benz North America has legitimate claim to being the top selling luxury nameplate in the US in 2012.

While sources such as Autodata had put BMW in the top spot, registration data from R.L. Polk shows that Mercedes customers registering new vehicles topped the Bavarian automaker in the most recent calendar year. Polk says Benz posted 274,123 registrations, compared with BMW's 268,498.

In terms of sales posted, BMW had bested Benz 281,460 to 274,134. But sales are recorded somewhat inconsistently from automaker to automaker. Some book the sales as soon as they are shipped from factory to dealer. There is perennial gamesmanship between the two German rivals, and the sales numbers suggest that BMW pushed out some extra sheetmetal to dealers in the last four weeks of the year.

Polk officials have not released their numbers to the public, but Autoblog obtained them from Mercedes-Benz.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the International Motor Press Association in New York City, Mercedes-Benz North America chief Steve Cannon said, "Cars sold to people in the calendar year who then register their vehicles seems to be a more accurate measure of real sales than just the raw sales numbers."

Cannon claims that BMW used "various methods" to beef up its sales in December, as Mercedes had been watching month-to-month registrations all year, and had been leading BMW for 11 months. Cannon said, "When you look at the difference between our sales and registrations, there is a discrepancy of 11. When you look at BMW's, there is a discrepancy of 13,000."

A BMW spokesman said the company stands by its sales figures.


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  • 33 Comments
      jason32379
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good. As a long-time BMW owner, I can say that BMW needs to be put in its place. I'll be looking at alternatives when my lease is up... The competition is hungry and BMW has gotten fat and lazy by gorging on the sales they're accustomed to. The new 3-series seems like a more cheaply made and noisier alternative to the E90 (probably the best 3-er ever made). The turbo four in the new 328i is noisy as hell on cold starts but it does have great power, which comes at the expense of fuel econonmy - my old 328i inline-six had as good or better economy.
        BRKF06
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jason32379
        I've had two e90s and the F30. While the steering isn't as nice on the F30, the car's handling, interior, ride, etc are vast improvements over the e90. The e90 only had one advantage: non EPS. But the interior is definitely better. And fling it into a corner with some oversteer action and it's far tighter than the e90s I had (plus they used gen 2 RFTs). My 328i is getting 25 MPG mixed driving. I used to see 22-23 with my 330i and 335i. But yeah, it is noisy as all get out. When this one is up, I will look to a 2 series gran coupe M model (if it's out). Sadly, most other manus don't even try to make fun, fast, customizable RWD sedans.
      Carguy
      • 1 Year Ago
      The real winner is the consumer. Around December both MB and BMW offer great lease offers to move more cars.
      Mercer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Who cares? Everyone knows Audi is eating them both.
        Jai302
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mercer
        Audi is not in the same lague as MB and BMW and VW knows this - that's why they cost less.
      lazybeans
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meh.. Let the fools spend/lease 40 large on luxury cars, got better places to invest my dough.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lazybeans
        A vehicle should never be considered an investment, ever. That's mistake #1.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        carfan
        • 1 Year Ago
        Hey black dynamo...Lexus is not in the same category with MB or BMW or AUDI or CADILLAC. Lexus is with the Volvo, Infiniti, Buick etc. if you don't believe me, aks the AB audience
          PM
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carfan
          What are you smoking? Lexus is definitely top tier luxury, and achieved it in under 25 years. They forced some immense change on the luxury segment overall in terms of quality/reliability and pricing.
          Jai302
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carfan
          Lexus is a league above Cadillac. And the lexus lfa costs more than the flagship of any of those brands. The GS outperforms its competitors. Funny you'd mention even Cadillac is better than lexus. Have you ever seen a cts up close? The sheetmetal and even the taillights feel cheap compared to any other luxury brand. Audi has more rebadged cars than Lexus does. Oh wait, when it comes to the germans you call it platform sharing but for the japs it's badge engineering. Get a life
          FIDTRO
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carfan
          @Jai The Germans only do platform sharing and the Japanese do badge engineering because only with the Japanese will you get the same exact car simply badged differently in other markets. The US market Acura TSX is the Honda Accord in the Euro market; the old CSX was the Honda Civic in the Middle East region; the last-gen Infiniti M is sold as the Nissan Fuga; the Infiniti Q45 was sold as the Nissan Cima; the EX was called the Skyline Crossover in the Japanese market. The first-gen Lexus IS was badged as a Toyota Altezza before it was brought to the US market. Last time I checked, the Germans don't models from their premiums brands--like Audi--and plop VW badges on them without making any modifications and selling them in different markets. I would much rather drive an Audi with VW underpinnings than drive an Infiniti, Acura or Lexus knowing that somewhere else in the world the exact same car has been badged a Nissan, Honda or Toyota. Talk about badge-engineering at its finest.
          kontroll
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carfan
          there's nothing wrong with the lexus,(except they are boring you to death with their stale designs that appeal only to the retired baby boomer generation), however you are totally correct that Lexus is not a part of the "prestig"e marque group you enumerated. Lexus is a reliable, leather-ed up toyota, The definition of "luxury" could be attributed to anything with higher than normal/standard quality materials, maybe more gadgets, a higher performing engine etc. I disagree with you on the account that Buickshould be in the same category with Lexus. Buick is a prestigious marque, a Lexus is not, Considering Buick's history, prestigious past ( both China’s last emperor and its first provisional president owned several Buicks.) and high quality, Buick should be considered in the league of the prestigious luxury cars along with MB, BMW , Audi, Cadillac and Jaguar. The lexo-philes can bark all day, expressing their subjective opinions about quality, beauty, value reliability etc, etc, but no barking will change the FACTS of history.
      whofan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I use to think that Diamler was the ultimate company until I saw how they ran Chrysler. I`d buy a Cadiliac CTS no fanfare just a great car.
      Love Great Danes
      • 1 Year Ago
      And we all know that Daimler would never exaggerate! LOL
      Pdexter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lol, why only comparing USA market share when you are losing globally to BMW and Audi.
        Feurig
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Pdexter
        Steve Cannon is CEO of MBUSA, hence the focus on USA.
      mbukukanyau
      • 1 Year Ago
      So there is more of them running around than Chevrolet Cruzes every year?
      adam1keith1980
      • 1 Year Ago
      What about Acura? I think the FWD RLX will help Acura dethrone the Germans.
      BRKF06
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't see how it matters.
      Jai302
      • 1 Year Ago
      So 2 months into 2013 they realized that they sold more. Right. I smell sour grapes. Having said that, I hope MB and Lexus beat bmw in sales so thattey can fire that greedy ceo and get back to building good cars rather than focusing on volume.
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