FRANKFURT -- Mercedes-Benz is the world's best-selling luxury brand after two months even as last year's leader BMW regained lost ground in February.
BMW brand global sales rose 9.1 percent to 143,419 last month, ahead of Mercedes, whose volume increased 11 percent to 133,752. Third-placed Audi sold 126,500 vehicles, a rise of 3.3 percent.
Over two months, BMW brand sales are up 8.3 percent to 277,304. But the gain lags Mercedes brand, whose two-month volume increased 16 percent to 284,566. Audi had the slowest growth of the three German premium brands, with two-month sales up 3.6 percent to 269,650.
BMW said in a statement that its group sales, comprising BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce models, increased by 7.9 percent to 163,965 in February.
BMW sales chief Ian Robertson said the company is seeing tailwinds in some markets but headwinds in others. "We remain optimistic that we will continue to achieve steady sales growth as the year progresses," he said in the statement.
BMW expects momentum in the current year from the new X1 SUV, as well as the first full year of sales for its new-generation 7-series sedan.
Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes parent Daimler, has vowed to be the global luxury leader in annual sales by 2020. Mercedes is benefiting from an expanded compact car lineup and a shakeup of its China business.
Last year BMW retained the title of world's biggest luxury automaker, with sales of BMW-branded cars reaching 1.91 million, a 5.2 percent rise on the previous year and the 11th year in a row since the automaker first won the title from Mercedes in 2005.