FRANKFURT/MUNICH -- Mercedes-Benz successfully defended its crown as the world's bestselling luxury-car brand, beating rivals BMW and Audi for the fourth year in a row.
The win emerged on Friday when BMW reported sales of its namesake branded vehicles rose 2 percent to a record 2.17 million cars last year.
Mercedes said on Thursday its sales increased 1.3 percent to 2.34 million vehicles.
Audi lagged behind both as sales rose 1.8 percent to 1.85 million cars.
Demand for upscale vehicles has proved to be more resilient than the mass-market segment, which has seen sales crimped in some regions by slower economic growth and fallout from trade disputes.
Mercedes said it posted sales records in Germany, China and the U.S. thanks to strong demand for its SUVs and high-end sedans.
The brand said demand rose 6.2 percent in China, where local customers ordered the top-end Maybach Mercedes S-class limousine at a rate of more than 700 vehicles a month.
While deliveries of expensive models in China -- the world's largest auto market -- have held up, the outlook could darken for the German luxury automakers due to their exposure to potentially higher auto tariffs between the U.S., China and Europe.
Looking ahead, BMW said it's targeting a slight increase in group sales this year along with "solid sales growth" in China.
In Europe, sales are expected to be on par with 2019 due to a "deterioration in the economic environment" and rise slightly in the U.S. The company already gave an indication of its sales and outlook earlier this week.
"Thanks to our large model offensive, we once again succeeded in increasing our sales to a new high in 2019," BMW's sales head Pieter Nota said in the statement. "I am confident that we will continue on our successful course in the current year."
High-end luxury vehicles and large SUVs have proved especially popular. BMW said it will double sales of its higher-end cars between 2018 and 2020, buoyed by the introduction of its X7 SUV last year.
Hildegard Wortmann, Audi's new sales chief, said on Tuesday that a relatively new product lineup should help the brand sustain positive sales momentum and win back ground lost to Mercedes and BMW in recent years.
Reuters contributed to this report