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BMW has reclaimed the luxury-sales crown from Mercedes by a margin of 9,347 cars. Mercedes ruled 2013, but last year BMW sold 339,738 units – a 9.8-percent increase year-on-year – while Mercedes saw its sales go up by 5.7 percent to 330,391 units.

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If you thought competition among the German luxury automakers was hot before, it looks like things are just getting started. For the first two months of the year, Audi has sold more cars than BMW worldwide by just 383 cars.

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Audi doesn't seem to be having any trouble of hitting its relatively audacious sales goal of two million units by 2020 – it's already on pace to eclipse 1.5 million sales two years ahead of schedule. According to Reuters, the Volkswagen-owned brand rode a wave of sales in China and the US to pace the early goal, with 780,500 deliveries at the halfway point of 2013. Particularly hot models include the Q5 crossover seen above and A4 sedan. Unless things go poorly in the second half of the ye

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A report by the Center of Automotive Research at the university of Duisburg-Essen in Germany has revealed that Mercedes-Benz, currently the number three luxury carmaker, could move up to number two in 2015, Automotive News reported. Mercedes owned the second slot until last year, when Audi overtook it. BMW has held the lead in the luxury market since 2005.

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Some would say that 2011 wasn't exactly a banner year, but the good chaps at Rolls-Royce would likely respond with a definitive "Poppycock!" That's because the 107-year-old brand experienced its best-ever sales totals in 2011, with 3,538 very expensive autos sold around the globe. That's a 31 percent increase over the 2,711 models sold in 2010, thanks mostly to brisk sales of the Ghost and Phantom models.

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Though the first eight months of 2010, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz were in a dead heat in the race to be crowned the top-selling luxury brand in the States. But big-time September sales at Mercedes-Benz pulled the German marque ahead of Lexus by a substantial 3,000 units, really putting the heat on Toyota's luxury arm. Could Mercedes pull off the upset to unseat Lexus for the first time since 2000? Not if Lexus can help it.

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Luxury car sales are off by at least one-third compared to last year's numbers, and the end is probably not in sight. In past recessions, the wealthy have been insulated by their money, but not this time. Real estate and banking are responsible for a large amount of the financial pickle we're in, and as those sectors get walloped by reality, the luxury cars typically purchased by agents, brokers, and bankers are languishing.

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