Mercedes-Benz kept the global luxury sales crown for the third consecutive year in 2018, outpacing nearest rival BMW by nearly 200,000 vehicles.
Sales of Mercedes brand cars rose 0.9 percent to 2.31 million, lifted by the introduction of the new A-class model, which helped compact-car sales account for a quarter of the brand’s annual volume.
BMW brand's volume increased 1.8 percent to 2.12 million, boosted by demand for its SUVs, which accounted for over a third of registrations.
Third-placed Audi's vehicle sales fell 3.5 percent to 1.87 million.
The luxury brands continued to benefit from demand for premium models in China, the world’s No. 1 market. Mercedes and Audi sales both grew 11 percent in China in 2018, while Audi sales rose 7.7 percent.
European volume declined for all three automakers last year.
Audi's deliveries dropped most with a 14 percent fall, which parent Volkswagen Group unit blamed on model changeovers, political and economic uncertainties along with the introduction of the new WLTP testing regime. Mercedes sales were down 2.3 percent, while BMW's sales declined by 0.3 percent.
In the United States, BMW's volume rose by 0.5 percent. Mercedes sales dropped 6.3 percent and Audi fell 1.4 percent.