Mercedes-Benz and BMW have both released their sales figures for the first half of 2019, 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 1 075 959 units over the first six months of 2019, representing an increase of 1,6 percent, year on year. The Mercedes-Benz brand, meanwhile, reached 1 134 729 units over the same period, shrinking by 4,6 percent. By our maths, that sees the Stuttgart-based automaker ahead by 58 770 units (for the record, Audi delivered 906 200 units, some 4,5 percent down).

The BMW Group (as opposed to brand), meanwhile, claimed it was still the “world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles”. And the stats bear that out: as a group (thus including the BMW brand, Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad), the Munich-based firm hit 1 252 837 units (up 0,8 percent), some 57 790 units ahead of Mercedes-Benz Cars (which includes the Mercedes brand as well as Smart), which ended on 1 195 047 units.

And in South Africa? Well, since Mercedes-Benz SA reports only aggregate figures locally, the passenger vehicle sales statistics we’re about to share are for the respective groups (not brands ... although in SA, it's worth noting Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad are excluded from BMW Group figures).

We trawled through Naamsa’s monthly sales reports, punched a few numbers into our calculator and came up with the following: BMW Group SA registered 7 774 passenger vehicle units in South Africa in the first half of 2019, while Mercedes-Benz SA managed 6 632 – some 1 142 units behind its Munich-based foe.

[Note: an earlier version of this story erroneously included commercial vehicle sales in Mercedes-Benz SA's passenger vehicle figures. This has been rectified in the copy above]...