Audi and Mercedes-Benz are closing in on global premium sales leader BMW as the race between the three tightened last month.
Results for the first seven months show that sales of BMW brand vehicles rose by 10 percent to 1.03 million units compared to the same period last year -- the first time BMW has passed the million mark this early in the year.
In second place, Audi increased seven-month sales by 11 percent to 1.01 million, helped by strong sales of its top selling A6 and a 52 percent volume increase for the A3 last month to 22,450 units.
Through July Mercedes sales rose 13 percent to 920,000 units.
Mercedes sales boss Ola Kaellenius said the brand's new compact cars and SUVs continue to drive the brand's growth.
Because the three competitors are now so close to each other in overall sales, the percentage differences were reflected in actual volumes, too. BMW sold about 77,000 more units in the seven months this year than last year, but Audi sold about 101,000 more and Mercedes about 104,000 more.
But the overall picture is more complex because there are marked differences in fortunes for each company in the key global markets. Of the three, Audi is the market leader in both Europe and China, while BMW is the best-seller in the United States.