Fewer than 5,000 vehicles separated the top two luxury brands by sales in the U.S. last year, with Mercedes-Benz barely topping BMW for a third straight victory.
Daimler AG’s Mercedes limped a bit over the finish line with a 9.1 percent drop in December. The 315,959 cars and sport utility vehicles the brand delivered last year still were 4,945 more than BMW AG’s namesake division. BMW was the only one of the four biggest luxury brands to increase sales in 2018.
Alabama-built Mercedes models saw sales decrease in 2018 compared to 2017. The C-Class had a 22 percent decrease in sales while the GLE (15.7 percent) and the GLS (31.9 percent) SUVs also saw declines.
For the second straight year, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus division finished third. A 2.2 percent decline for 2018 dropped the brand farther back from the German front-runners.
Volkswagen AG’s Audi stumbled at the end of the year with declines of 16 percent in December and 11 percent in November. The brand ended 2018 down 1.4 percent, recording its first annual drop since 2009.
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