BMW topped its rival in the U.S. luxury auto market for the first time this year, eeking out a monthly sales gain and gaining ground on Mercedes-Benz.
Deliveries of the X3 and X5 SUVs climbed 43 percent and 35 percent last month, respectively, pacing BMW’s total sales of 31,015 vehicles. The automaker outsold rival Mercedes by about 1,900 units in March.
As plummeting demand for passenger cars led most automakers to miss analysts’ estimates last month, BMW managed to keep deliveries of its 3-series and 5-series models roughly flat compared with a year earlier. The victory in March pulled BMW to within 7,500 vehicle sales of Mercedes through the first three months of the year.
“Our new BMW 5 series is just breaking into what is a difficult market for sedans but orders are solid,” Bernhard Kuhnt, CEO of BMW’s North American unit, said in a statement. “With two more variants on their way, we are optimistic for the months ahead.”
BMW ceded the global sales title to the Daimler unit for the first time since 2013 last year as Mercedes brand sales rose 11 percent to 2.08 million, outpacing BMW's 5.2 percent rise to 2.0 million.