Now that Mercedes-Benz and BMW have both released global sales figures for the first half of 2018, we can take a closer look at exactly what’s going on in the luxury sales race.

Both German automakers managed to register half-year sales records, but it’s the Stuttgart-based brand that was ahead at the halfway mark of 2018.

Yes, from the start of the year up until the end of June, the Mercedes-Benz brand sold 1 188 832 vehicles globally, representing a 3,9% increase year-on-year. The BMW brand, meanwhile, sold 1 059 296 vehicles (up 2%) in the same reporting period, which puts it 129 536 units behind its Teutonic foe, according to our trusty calculator (for the record, Audi managed 949 300 units, a year-on-year increase of 4,5%).

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Cars (which includes the Smart brand) sold a total of 1 254 492 vehicles in the first half, some 11 985 units ahead of the BMW Group (which includes the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad brands), which managed 1 242 507.

And in South Africa? Well, since Mercedes-Benz SA doesn’t report individual model sales figures, we can report only on the group’s passenger vehicle number (i.e., including Smart, but excluding Mercedes-Benz trucks).

In the first half of the year, Mercedes sold 8 849 passenger vehicles in South Africa, while BMW managed 9 512 (this figure includes Mini, but excludes Rolls-Royce and Motorrad). That gives the Munich-based automaker a slim 663-unit local advantage in the passenger vehicle segment going into the second half of 2018...