MUNICH – A record-setting result in June pushed Mercedes-Benz brand past Audi into second place in global luxury car sales for the first half.
After six months, Mercedes leads the Volkswagen AG premium brand by just 1,750 units. Both automakers trail No. 1 BMW brand, which finished the first half with a 14.1 percent rise in global volume to 585,755 units. (See box, below)
Audi's total global sales were better than Mercedes's for the first five months of the year, but strong demand for the Mercedes E class and S class helped increase the Stuttgart-based automaker's monthly sales 13.2 percent to 113,300, that is the most Mercedes has ever sold in June, the company said in a release.
“We are also in an excellent position to do well in the months ahead and plan to continue Mercedes-Benz's success with a significant increase in the third quarter,” Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars, said in a statement.
Audi chases record
Despite slipping to No. 3 in global premium-car sales after six months, Audi on Thursday reaffirmed its forecast to post record global vehicle sales in 2010. Audi said it is on track to beat its best global sales result ever, which was 1,003,469 units in 2008.
Audi said on Thursday that deliveries to customers rose 8.7 percent to 99,250 vehicles in June thanks to another surge in demand in China, which overtook Germany this year as the company's single-largest market.
In the first half, sales volume rose 19.1 percent to 554,950 vehicles as above-average demand in the United States and UK markets also helped to drive results and compensate for a 5.1 percent decrease in Germany.
"Over the past year in particular we have been investing considerable amounts in our brand and the dealer network in the United States. We are now reaping the rewards," Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said in a statement. "This year, our aim is to break through the barrier of 100,000 cars in the United States for the first time ever."
Reuters contributed to this report