Mercedes-Benz and BMW have both released their final sales figures for 2019, so it’s time to take a look at which of the two German giants claimed the title of the world’s best-selling premium automotive brand last year.

Well, the BMW brand registered 2 168 516 units over the course of 2019, representing a year-on-year increase of 2,0 percent. The Mercedes-Benz brand, meanwhile, reported 2 339 562 units over the same period, growing by 1,3 percent. By our maths, that sees the Stuttgart-based automaker win by 171 046 units (for the record, Audi delivered 1 845 550 units in 2019, some 1,8 percent up), leading the charge for the fourth year on the trot.

And what about when it comes to the performance arms of the two brands? Well, BMW M sold 135 826 units (up 32,2 percent) in 2019, while Mercedes-AMG managed 132 136 units (11,8 percent up). Whipping out the calculator reveals Munich took the title here by a mere 3 690 units after Affalterbach triumped in 2018.

BMW's X-badged range of SUVs, meanwhile, totalled 958 732 units over the year, while Mercedes-Benz sold around 783 700 examples from its SUV family.

The BMW Group (as opposed to brand), meanwhile, points out that it remained the world’s “leading premium car company” in 2019. And at first glance the stats bear that out: as a group (thus including the BMW brand, Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad), the Munich-based firm hit 2 520 307 units (up 1,2 percent), some 63 964 units ahead of Mercedes-Benz Cars (which includes the Mercedes brand as well as Smart), which ended on 2 456 343 units. Remove the 175 162 units of BMW-branded motorcycles from the equation, though, and the picture changes...