The king is dead - long live the king. Mercedes-Benz is now your new US sales champion in the fiercely competitive luxury market, deposing the champ BMW, which has enjoyed annual supremacy for the past two years.

Thanks in no small part to the dynamite launch of the new, affordable CLA-Class, not to mention a redesigned E-Class and hot-selling S-Class, Mercedes moved 33,007 units in December alone, while sales in 2013 were up 14 percent, to 312,534. BMW, meanwhile, managed to sell 309,280 units in 2013. It was far from a sure thing for the Stuttgart-based brand, though, as BMW managed to nearly halve its rival's sales lead heading into the last month of 2013.

"We saw record sales, flexed our muscles across the entire product line from top to bottom and brought the customer experience to an all-time high," said Steve Cannon, Mercedes USA's CEO. While we don't have individual figures, it seems at first blush that the CLA was really the car that pushed Mercedes over the top.

Since the new model went on sale in late September, Mercedes has enjoyed big sales increases, moving 2,300 units in its first week on sale. Cannon, meanwhile, said just a few weeks back that the CLA was "our best launch in 20 years." Now the only question is whether Mercedes will be able to maintain its momentum into 2014. If the arrival of the new GLA is anywhere near as successful as the CLA, we don't think that will be a problem.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      Jake
      • 11 Months Ago
      I guess I don't understand the hate here. If someone likes a particular brand (such as Mercedes-Benz), and that person has enough money to purchase the entry level model for that brand (such as the CLA), why should this person automatically be typified as a "wannabe?"
        modalita
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jake
        Because the CLA is a shell of what a Mercedes should be. If you're budget is only $30K, and you're lusting a Benz, get a used E-Class.
        clquake
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jake
        They're haters because even this entry level Benz is out of their league.
          Jesus!
          • 11 Months Ago
          @clquake
          So because someone has an opinion that is not favorable towards a particular brand, that automatically means they are a hater and cannot afford it?
      Mr Sled
      • 11 Months Ago
      The CLA's penalty box back seat kills it for me. Otherwise I think I would consider one. Mercedes wants a gateway car to their brand... I think they got it.
        ihyln
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Mr Sled
        The car looked spectacular in pictures until you see one in person and wonder who would buy an actual MB clown car.
          lennyj50
          • 11 Months Ago
          @ihyln
          correct you are; it looks like crap next to my 2004 E46 droptop
      knightrider_6
      • 11 Months Ago
      If they are counting 5 Series and E class as luxury cars, shouldn't they count Camry as well?
      knightrider_6
      • 11 Months Ago
      To win the crown again BMW needs to launch another 15 models. More models = More sales
      Black Dyanmite
      • 11 Months Ago
      Without the bottom-feeding $29k CLA, BMW would've had it again...... BD
        wickedme91
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        Because BMW thought people would fall for 1 series. That was a a way more terrible car except for RWD.
      dea5787
      • 11 Months Ago
      So surprise there. I've seen many CLA's on the road already, most of them base models too (halogens, small wheels, sans moonroof). These vehicles are driven by people that just was the three pointed star logo, and the 'bragging rights' that come with it. Every time I see this bargain basement $30k vehicle I feel like telling these people that there vehicle is unimpressive. (I'm ready to be down voted lol)
        J
        • 11 Months Ago
        @dea5787
        I have a saying: There are two types in the world - those who are, and those who wanna-be. Even with the $30K price, the majority of CLAs are leased by wanna-bes.
          jessesrq
          • 11 Months Ago
          @J
          Or, more accurately: Those who are defined by their own decisions, or those who care how others define them.
          dea5787
          • 11 Months Ago
          @J
          Very true
        modalita
        • 11 Months Ago
        @dea5787
        I was shocked at how small the wheels on the CLA base were in real life. Rather pedestrian looking side profile with pretty rear lights.
      in2dwww
      • 11 Months Ago
      Mercedes may be a luxury brand, but the CLA is not a luxury car. It stands to reason that the crown acquired by CLA sales shows the Emperor wears no clothes.
        Will
        • 11 Months Ago
        @in2dwww
        Mercedes isn't really a "luxury brand." It might seem like that in America, but the A and B-Class aren't one bit luxurious. Neither are their cargo-vans. I hate the CLA. mind you... at least the A-Class and B-Class have some utility. The CLA was built for brand lusting d-bags who don't even understand the brand. Speaking as someone who has owned a MB, they are Germanic in all the worst ways. I'll never own another... not even if it is a gift.
        juststudent
        • 11 Months Ago
        @in2dwww
        I think we need to define luxury cars are. I always thought they're just normal cars with nicer interior, material and attention to detail. Long list of toys, big engine and exclusivity are completely optional.
      Trent
      • 11 Months Ago
      There are many in this economy who can afford any car but chose not to do so. My wife and I could easily afford any car we want but I chose a Hyundai Azera and we got her a VW Bug. Both are new and both are paid off. If I were to buy a new Mercedes or BMW I would start at the bottom and work my way up based on needs/wants at that time and not based on the max amount I could afford? So the real question is are people buying the CLA because they are a wantabe or because it financially responsible?
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trent
        [blocked]
        linuxaddict7
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trent
        I dont know if we need to judge people.. for some people its worth.
        audisp0rta4
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trent
        "My wife and I could easily afford any car we want but I chose a Hyundai Azera and we got her a VW Bug." So you mean to tell me that you could've bought your wife a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, but made her settle for a slug bug instead? Should we give you a high five for keeping her low maintenance, or flame you using this article as an excuse to brag to everyone how wealthy and fiscally responsible you are?!
        srlalsd1
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trent
        I actually had the new Azera for a week. Liked it a lot. It is definitely "more" of a car than the CLA. However, I would still pick the CLA over the Azera. The CLA has a better engine, 7 speed DCT, sportier and gets better mileage. With the upgraded interior the CLA feels nicer and more modern. Mechanically the CLA is much better. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. That said I am sure 50%+ of the CLA buyers just want the badge. BTW, the CLA starts at 29k and the Azera starts at 31k.
      rocknrobin899
      • 11 Months Ago
      As a woman I've always found the Mercedes Benz to have a great amount of style and class. They last for years to come and there beauty is unmatched.
      Koenigsegg
      • 11 Months Ago
      only seen 3 CLA's on the road, i'd take one... if it was electric.
        Robbie
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        I see at least 3 a day in the NY suburbs
      interruptive_cow
      • 11 Months Ago
      Unsurprising. You can't swing a cat without hitting a cla where I live.
      Eta Carinae
      • 11 Months Ago
      The CLA would have been a nice option to expanded the Smart brand......this is mercedes benz being greedy and it will wind up paying for it....instead of investing and growing the smart brand so it could compete with brands like nissan, honda, etc. It is turning into a waste of money for them......traveling down market just to bokster sales isnt what luxury is about.....
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