Mercedes holds its lead over BMW in U.S. luxury race

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Despite a 0.6 percent increase in US sales in November, Mercedes-Benz remained number 1 at luxury brands last month.

Mercedes sold 31,022 vehicles in the month, with the exception of commercial vans. Sales by No. 2 BMW stepped 1 percent higher in November to 28,330 vehicles.

Lexus sales fell 2.5 percent to 26,446. Audi deliveries dropped 11 percent to 17,082 units.

So far, Mercedes has sold 283,943 luxury vehicles, down 6 percent from the same period a year ago. For comparison, BMW reported sales of 276,657 vehicles for the first 11 months, an increase of 1.9 percent. The volume of Lexus for the year fell by 2.6 percent to 262,786. Audi has increased by 0.5 percent to 200,558 deliveries.

In general, US luxury sales fell by 1.1 percent in November to 181,602. For the year to date, luxury sales fell by 0.3 percent to 1,809,974 deliveries.

December should be a strong month for premium brands, as they traditionally close deals to close the year, and compete for the luxury sales crown, noted Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

"Healthy luxury sales should continue in 2019, as a lot of new luxury will hit the market during the year," said Anand.

Mercedes-Benz, chasing a third consecutive American luxury throne, is optimistic about its prospects.

"We expect a solid near the last weeks of 2018," said Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, in a statement.

The Mercedes-Benz volume guides in November include the GLC, C-class and E-class model lines.

The GLC took the lead, at 6,199, followed by C-class sales of 5,777. The E-class rounded off the top three, with 5,181 units sold. Sales in November of high-quality Mercedes-AMG vehicles amounted to 3,070 units, of which 24,808 vehicles have been sold so far.

Sales of BMW brands rose for the 13th consecutive month. Crossovers accounted for 56 percent of sales in November.

The all-new BMW X5 and BMW X3 together represented one in three BMW vehicles sold in the US in November. The X3 was the best-selling BMW model in the US for the ninth consecutive month.

Electrified vehicles accounted for 7.7 percent of BMW Group's US sales last month. Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids amounted to 2,314 in November, a decrease of about 15 percent compared to a year ago.

"The audience wants to reach, and the public wants SUVs," Anand said. "Automakers who meet these needs will be well positioned in EV space."

Porsche Cars North America reported US sales of 5,673 vehicles in November, an increase of 2.1 percent from the same time last year. Retail sales for the first 11 months increased by 3.1 percent to 53,116.

The turnover of Porsche in November was fueled by the strong demand for the Macan, the new generation Cayenne and the Panamera. The Porsche 911 accelerated this year for the first time to more than 1,000 episodes in a month.

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The Macan was the best seller of the brand in November, on 2101 vehicles, or 37 percent of all Porsches sold in the month.