Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Audi sold 902,272 vehicles in the first six months. The correct figure was 953,200.
MUNICH -- Mercedes-Benz solidified its sales lead over the BMW brand in the first half of the year, moving closer to a goal of unseating its rival for the first time since 2005.
BMW’s six-month brand deliveries rose 5.8 percent from a year earlier to 986,557, compared with a 12 percent gain to just over 1 million cars for the Mercedes brand. That left BMW trailing by 20,062 vehicles for the No. 1 position. Third-placed Audi sold 953,200 a rise of 5.6 percent.
Mercedes is set to deliver four years early on a target of beating BMW’s annual sales. Audi has also said it wants to become No. 1 in the luxury-auto sales. All three have stressed that growth mustn’t come at the expense of profitability.
Daimler published second-quarter earnings on Monday in an unscheduled release, saying adjusted operating profit beat analysts’ expectations.
During June, BMW delivered 189,097 cars, a gain of 9.7 percent, as demand rose for 2-series sedans and the company’s SUV lineup, the automaker said today in a statement.
That compares with Mercedes’s 11 percent jump to 188,444 autos that was also propelled by a surge in SUV demand. Audi remained in third place with 169,000 deliveries, a gain of 7.4 percent.
Automakers are under pressure to invest in new products and technologies such as electric cars to keep pace with emissions regulations as well as changing consumer expectations that focus more on connected services than actual driving.
BMW said it received 5,000 orders for its revamped electric i3 city car with an improved driving range before the model became available this month.