BMW Takes the Lead

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BMWwidened its lead as the top imported luxury car maker in the United States last month. Its sales were up nearly 20 percent on the sale month last year as it outsold Daimlers Mercedes-Benz and other luxury imports.

Deliveries for the first five months of the year were also just ahead of Mercedes.

BMWs U.S. sales, helped by deliveries of the new 5 Series sedan and sport-utility vehicles, rose 13 percent last month to 21,637 compared with a year earlier, the Munich-based automaker said yesterday in a statement.

After six months of sales, BMW looks poised to outsell Lexus in the United States for a calendar year for the first time since 1997.

BMW’s sales through June rose 13 percent to 113,705. Stuttgart-based Mercedes deliveries rose 7 percent to 110,926 in the United States while Lexus’s fell 18 percent to 88,010.

Lexus has been the annual top-selling luxury auto brand in the United States for the past 11 years. “They’re too far behind now to catch up,” Jim O’Donnell, head of BMW’s U.S. operations, said of Lexus in a telephone interview.

ODonnell expects the brands sales to increase 12.5 percent this year, helped by a redesigned 5 Series sedan and X3 sport-utility vehicle, he said.

BMWs sales in the second half of the year will benefit from the introduction of another all-wheel-drive version of the 5 Series, the 528i xDrive, he said.

That used to account for 25 percent of our 5 Series sales, so that will be a big lift for us in the last quarter, ODonnell said.

UAE

In the U.A.E. BMW is going strong.

Latest results from AGMC, the importer of BMW in the Dubai, Sharjah and other emirates, reveal sustained growth in the first quarter of 2011.

With a 38% increase in sales of BMW Group vehicles during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year, ranking AGMC among the top three markets in the BMW Group Middle East for the year.

Sources: Euronews, Bloomberg, Khaleej Times

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