The global sales figures for the first quarter of 2019 are in, with the Mercedes-Benz brand keeping its nose ahead of BMW as the world’s best-selling premium marque.

In the first three months of the year, the Mercedes-Benz brand sold 560 873 units, down some 5,6 percent year-on-year. The BMW brand, meanwhile, grew 0,4 percent in the same period, reaching 519 307 units. Whip out your calculator and you’ll see that puts BMW some 41 566 units behind its Stuttgart-based rival.

Of course, the picture changes somewhat when we examine the respective groups, as opposed to brands. Here, Mercedes-Benz Cars (which includes the Smart brand) hit a total of 587 921 sales, while the BMW Group (including the Mini, Rolls-Royce and Motorrad brands) reached 605 333 sales. In this case, the Munich-based group finds itself 17 412 units ahead, thanks largely to its performance in March 2019, which represented its best-ever single sales month.

Anyway, on to a handful of other interesting figures. In the first quarter of 2019, Mercedes-Benz says it sold 67 077 compact vehicles, with sales of the A-Class increasing by 25,6 percent over the three-month period. And the C-Class? Well, the mid-size sedan accounted for 105 708 units.

Sales of the new BMW Series, meanwhile, stood at 67 436 units in the first quarter, with the Bavarian automaker saying the fresh-faced sedan's slow start to the year (nearly half of that total came in March alone) was down to the disruption caused by the switch from the sixth-generation model.

For the record, in 2018 the BMW brand registered 2 125 026 units, while the Mercedes-Benz brand reached a loftier 2 310 185 units.