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BMW retains US luxury sales lead, helped by new 3 Series

With 2012 now well and truly gone, the sales stats of vehicles all around the world are starting to come through. And for the popular premium segment in the US between BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz, it’s BMW that has come out on top.

BMW sold 281,460 vehicles in the USA during 2012, over 5000 more than key rival Mercedes-Benz (274,084 vehicles). Lexus, previous leader in the segment, sold 244,166. The Japanese company held the sales crown in the US for 11 years, from 1999 to 2010.

The Bavarian motor company was able to hold onto its lead from 2011 with the help of the new 3 Series, which was launched early in 2012. Up to 99,602 examples left the showroom floor, compared with 81,697 sales of its rival Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, recently spoke about the success, saying there could have been more sales if production and vehicle supply kept up.

“We had a tough time getting cars into this country,” he said. “Our production sites around the world were humming at full speed.”

In Australia, the tables are slightly turned. Mercedes-Benz took the overall lead between the luxury trio, selling 22,397 vehicles, ahead of BMW (18,413) and Lexus (6839). Audi pushed Lexus from third position, selling 14,535 vehicles.

In terms of increases on 2011 figures in Australia, Lexus made the biggest, with sales jumping 7.75 per cent. Mercedes-Benz sales increased 5.7 per cent from 2011 to 2012, while BMW sales were up 5.16 per cent. Audi sales only jumped 0.16 per cent.

See below for the top three selling models from each of the four premium makers in Australia:

Audi
1. A4 – 2746
2. A1 – 1782
3. Q3 – 1472

BMW
1. 3 Series – 5493 (plus 765 Coupe/Convertible)
2. X5 – 2778
3. 1 Series – 1920 (plus 1385 Coupe/Convertible)

Lexus
1. RX – 2169
2. IS (250/350) – 2043 (plus 226 IS250C convertible)
3. CT200h – 1500

Mercedes-Benz
1. C-Class – 6676 (plus 2336 Coupe)
2. B-Class 2035
3. M-Class – 2729

International figures are expected to be released soon.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.