Sales rise 8% in April, boosted by SUV demand

BMW maintains lead in global luxury race

Sales rise 8% in April, boosted by SUV demand

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FRANKFURT -- BMW Group remains the world's best-selling premium automaker after vehicle sales at its namesake BMW brand rose 8 percent to 140,840 in April.

Last month's gain pushed the BMW brand's four-month deliveries up 11 percent to 569,100 vehicles, the automaker said in a statement today.

"The BMW Group achieved record sales in April, keeping us on track to achieve our aim of delivering our best ever year with more than two million vehicles sold in 2014," Ian Robertson, the automaker's sales chief, said in the statement.

BMW's brand gains continued to be driven by strong demand for its SUVs. In the first four months X1 sales climbed 12 percent, X3 volume 10 percent and X5 deliveries 21 percent.

Competition is heating up among BMW and its German rivals Audi, No. 2 in global luxury sales and third-placed Mercedes-Benz. Audi's sales briefly passed BMW's at the beginning of the year and Mercedes' volume is being boosted by its new compact-car range.

All three companies expect record deliveries this year, helped by surging demand in China and the United States.

Audi, Mercedes surge

Audi's April sales rose 12 percent to 149,050 compared with the same month in 2013, while Mercedes brand's volume rose 14 percent to 133,077. Audi's four-month sales are up 12 percent to 561,900. Mercedes brand sales rose 15 percent to 507,353.

BMW Group, which also owns the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, forecasts that group sales will exceed 2 million autos for the first time this year, achieving the target two years earlier than originally planned.

Mini sales decline

BMW Group sales including the Mini brand rose 4 percent to 162,093 in April, boosting group deliveries to 649,118 in the first four months, a rise of 8 percent.

Sales of BMW and Mini vehicles in Europe rose 2 percent to 283,702 through April, while in China deliveries were up 25 percent to 145,716. In the United States, sales rose 3 percent to 110,626.

Mini sales fell 15 percent last month to 20,917, while four-month sales dropped 13 percent to 78,785.

BMW maintains No. 1 spot in premium global sales in the first four months

Four-month brand sales % change from 2013

BMW569,100 +11%

Audi561,900 +12%

Mercedes-Benz507,353 +15%

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