2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

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.