2014 BMW M235i first drive, Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayEnlarge Photo
Germany’s three major luxury automotive brands experienced record sales in the U.S. in 2014, with BMW ending the year as the most successful. In 2014, BMW sold a staggering 339,738 vehicles here, up 9.8 percent on the record 309,280 it sold in 2013. The most popular model was the 3-Series/4-Series duo, whose sales totaled 142,232 units.
Mercedes-Benz was a close second with 330,391 sales in 2014, a rise of 5.7 percent on the 312,534 vehicles sold the previous year. And if you add the figures for Mercedes’ Sprinter van you get a total of 366,589 sales. Both totals are new records for the Three-Pointed Star. The top-seller was the C-Class, with 75,065 units getting sold.
Audi still lagged its rivals by a considerable margin, managing 182,011 vehicle sales. However, the result is still a substantial 15.2 percent rise on the 158,061 vehicles Audi sold in the U.S. in 2013. Here, the most popular model was the Q5 which experienced 42,420 unit sales over the period.
The gains are mostly attributed to the arrival of new compact models, particularly in the case of Mercedes, which entered the segment for the first time only in 2013 with the launch of its CLA-Class. In 2014 we saw Mercedes introduce the GLA-Class, while Audi launched its new A3 and BMW its new 2-Series. Also helping to boost sales have been low interest rates and attractive lease plans.
Global tallies for the three automakers should be announced later this month. BMW is expected to be the top-selling brand, though competition this year has been close.
Focusing back on the U.S. market, Lexus sales rose 14 percent to 311,389 units; Acura sales rose 1.5 percent to 167,843 units; Infiniti sales rose 0.8 percent to 117,300 units; and Lincoln sales rose 16 percent to 94,474 units.
Luxury brands that saw sales decline included Cadillac and Volvo. Cadillac’s sales dropped 6.5 percent to 170,750 units, while Volvo sales dropped 7.9 percent to just 56,366 units. It should be noted that both Cadillac and Volvo should see a bounce back to positive territory soon thanks to the arrival of some important new models this year like the replacement for the aging SRX at Cadillac and Volvo's new XC90.