Mercedes-Benz on Track to Outsell Luxury Rivals
Prestige vehicles are popular all over the world, and German brand Mercedes-Benz, has enjoyed an illustrious history thanks to producing some of the most sought-after cars around.
However, in recent years it has faced stiff competition from domestic rivals Audi and BMW, losing many of its customers in the process. This caused it to rethink its strategy and fight back in a big way, starting in 2013 with the arrival of the current generation of S-Class.
Now analysts have revealed that Mercedes-Benz is back on top in terms of sales, outpacing its rivals and shifting 483,487 units worldwide in the first quarter of 2016, according to Auto Express.
By comparison, BMW came in a close second with 478,743 luxury cars sold, while Audi sat a little way back in third with 455,750 models making their way to showrooms globally.
It may look like the fight between these three brands is not definitive, given the relatively small gaps in sales between each. But the true story of Mercedes-Benz’ resurgence can be seen in the dramatic growth it has experienced.
Year on year, its Q1 sales were up by 13 per cent, whereas BMW managed a more mediocre six per cent increase and Audi was stuck with a far less impressive four per cent rise.
Daimler spokesperson Ola Kallenius said that at no point in the history of Mercedes had such strong sales performance been reported while also indicating that there are no signs of a slowdown in this expansion, making 2016 a crucial year in cementing the firm at the top of the luxury car ladder.
The lion’s share of sales growth achieved by Mercedes in the past 12 months has been attributed to China. The company has been dedicating a significant portion of its not inconsiderable resources to breaking into this massive marketplace.
In fact, the importance of the Chinese market to Mercedes has become so significant that a fifth of its total sales are now made there. And it is hot on the heels of Audi, which has done a better job of establishing itself in China but could be usurped if the current trends are allowed to continue.
Of course, Mercedes is not performing exceptionally in every part of the world, and one market where it has actually seen sales decline in the first three months of the year is the US. While activity may have dipped by only three per cent, the firm faces an uphill struggle to regain much of the ground lost to market-leader Audi.
It is worth noting that the statistics on the sales performance of Mercedes and its other luxury rivals are limited solely to the vehicles which fall under the main brand names and don't include off-shoots and less prestigious parts of the same automotive groups, such as the Smart family. And with three of Germany’s leading luxury brands selling close to half a million vehicles each in Q1, the influence of this country on the global car market as a whole should not be underestimated.
There are a number of new Mercedes models on the horizon which should help to raise its profile even further. The C-Class is set to get a facelift in 2017, along with the arrival of a convertible version of the E-Class which has appeared in early images this week.
A new SUV and even a pick-up truck should also be making an appearance at auto shows later in the year, with 2017 and 2018 sure to hold more surprises.
Meanwhile, the introduction of more hybrid and fully electric vehicles, along with the arrival of autonomous driving technology, will allow Mercedes to maintain its position and ideally continue to undergo rapid growth. And as long as the global economy remains stable, luxury car sales should also be capable of continuing to increase internationally as well as in the UK.