Earlier in January, we took a closer look at annual sales data from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, determining that the Stuttgart-based brand outsold its Munich-based foe in 2018.

Yes, the BMW brand registered 2 125 026 units over the course of the year, representing a year-on-year increase of 1,8 percent. The Mercedes-Benz brand, meanwhile, reached 2 310 185 units over the same period, growing by 0,9 percent. By our maths, that saw the latter win by 185 159 units (for the record, Audi delivered 1 812 500 units in 2018, some 3,5 percent down).

Pieter Nota, BMW’s board member responsible for sales, told Automotive News Europe the Bavarian automaker had the “objective” to reclaim the title of world’s top-selling premium brand.

“Of course, we have that objective and the launch of the X7 SUV and the renewal of the overall X range play a very important role here,” Nota told the publication, suggesting the automaker planned to drive sales in 2019 with its crossover line-up.

“But we define ‘number one’ in multiple ways. It is not only unit sales but also profitability and being fit for the future. We have defined a triangle: growth, profitability and future fitness. All are being equally important,” he said.

Asked to define “fit for the future”, Nota explained “a variety of factors" were involved.

“These include the strength of our brands, which we regularly measure and invest in, and the development and investment in future technologies, such as those that are incorporated in the BMW Vision iNext.”

Nota furthermore suggested there was growth potential in the area of electrified vehicles.

“In 2017, we sold more than 100 000 electrified vehicles and we were on track to reach our goal of 140 000 . By the end of this year, we will have a combined 500 000 electrified vehicles on the road and in 2025 we will have at least 25 electrified vehicles, of which half will be full-electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids,” he said.