Mercedes-Benz and BMW have both released their sales figures for the first quarter of 2021, so it’s time to take a look at which of the two German giants is leading this year’s race for the title of the world’s best-selling premium automotive brand.
The BMW brand registered 636 606 units over the first three months of 2021, representing an increase of 33,5 per cent, year on year; a personal sales record for the brand. Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, reached 590 999 units over the same period, representing a 22,3 per cent increase. This puts the Bavarian automaker ahead by 45 607 units.
The BMW Group, states that this result “underlines its ambitious growth targets for the year”. So what’s the breakdown of products? 560 543 vehicles were delivered to customers during these three months which represents a 36,2 per cent increase over last year. The X models constituted 246 068 of these figures. This is a bit less than the 581 270 passenger cars Mercedes-Benz managed to sell during the same period.
Models such as the 5 Series and 3 Series saw increases of 43 per cent and 43,6 per cent respectively over the same period last year. As for electrified vehicles, 70 207 units managed to find new homes which is more than double compared to the year before.
In the first quarter of 2021, a total of 74 683 Mini vehicles were delivered to customers. Despite the brand’s limited footprint in the Chinese market, this represents a 16,2 per cent increase over the previous year. Mini was able to grow its sales in all regions of the world compared to the first quarter of 2020. The Countryman proved especially popular with customers, posting growth of 36,0 per cent. Mini three-door sales were up 23,4 per cent, while 19,1 per cent more John Cooper Works models were sold than in the previous year. Electrified vehicles accounted for 15 per cent of total sales in the first quarter; double the figure for the previous year.
The M cars increased in popularity as well. With sales up 21,0 per cent, constituting 37 896 units, year-on-year, BMW M concludes a successful first quarter. The X5 M and X6 M were the main drivers of growth in the high-performance models but in the performance segment, the M440i Coupé was the significant source of growth. These figures are expected to improve throughout the year with the arrival of the M3, M4 and M5 CS.
What about the breakdown for Mercedes-Benz? With China and USA being main drivers for its sales as well as an increased demand for plug-in hybrids and EVs, almost 10 per cent of its overall sales, equating to around 59 000 units, were Eco-friendly products.
Sales of Mercedes-Benz in the Asia-Pacific region rose 46,6 per cent due to the continuing strong sales development in China where a new record was achieved with 222 520 cars delivered in the first three months, thus reflecting a 60,1 per cent increase. In January alone, sales in China almost reached the milestone of 100 000 vehicles. In the European region, brand deliveries were slightly above Q1 2020 at an increase of 1,8 per cent. This is despite ongoing lockdown measures in many markets at the beginning of the year. In Germany, Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 54 446 cars; a 15,4 per cent decrease. Sales in the North America region however, totalled 88 318 units which reflects a 12,5 per cent increase with 78 256 of these being passenger cars delivered to customers in the USA; a 15,5 per cent increase. Moreover, in the USA, Mercedes-Benz was the strongest-selling luxury car brand in the first quarter.
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