BERLIN Jan 13 BMW posted the smallest
gain in December sales of Germany's top three premium-car brands
as the battle with Audi and Mercedes-Benz for the
luxury-sales crown is heating up.
Deliveries at the luxury-sales champion rose 2.3 percent
last month to 155,835 BMW brand cars, the carmaker said on
Monday, dwarfed by an 18.4 percent surge at runner-up Audi
to 130,700 autos, and a 11.2 percent gain at Mercedes
With full-year sales up 7.5 percent to 1.65 million, the BMW
brand retained a shrinking lead over its archrivals.
BMW outsold Audi by about 80,000 cars in 2013, compared with
85,000 a year earlier, while the gap with Mercedes shrank from
220,000 in 2012 to 193,000 last year, company data showed.
"BMW is showing signs of weakening while Mercedes enjoys
very strong product momentum," Frankfurt-based Bankhaus Metzler
analyst Juergen Pieper said. "The big three are closing ranks."
Audi and Mercedes, which dropped to third in 2011, have
pledged to surpass BMW in sales by the end of the decade. To woo
more customers, Audi is aiming to expand its lineup to 60 models
from its current 49 by 2020, while Mercedes is planning to
launch over 30 new models.
Still, BMW said on Monday it aims to push deliveries to
another record this year despite "difficult conditions" in many
Full-year group sales, also including the MINI brand,
Rolls-Royce and BMW motorcycles, rose 6.4 percent to 1.96
million units, due to increased demand from China and the United