MUNICH -- Mercedes-Benz solidified its sales lead over the BMW brand in the first half of the year, moving closer to a goal of unseating its rival for the first time since 2005.
BMW’s six-month brand deliveries rose 5.8 percent from a year earlier to 986,557, compared with a 12 percent gain to just over 1 million cars for the Mercedes brand. That left BMW trailing by 20,062 vehicles for the No. 1 position. Third-placed Audi sold 953,200 a rise of 5.6 percent. Mercedes is set to deliver four years early on a target of beating BMW’s annual sales. Audi has also said it wants to become No. 1 in the luxury-auto sales. All three have stressed that growth mustn’t come at the expense of profitability. Daimler published second-quarter earnings on Monday in an unscheduled release, saying adjusted operating profit beat analysts’ expectations. During June, BMW delivered 189,097 cars, a gain of 9.7 percent, as demand rose for 2-series sedans and the company’s SUV lineup, the automaker said today in a statement. more ...
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