Mercedes-Benz Barely Beats BMW For 2018 U.S. Luxury Sales Crown

Mercedes-Benz is, for yet another year, the top-selling luxury vehicle brand in the United States, edging out German rivals BMW and Audi.

Throughout 2018, Mercedes-Benz shifted 315,959 vehicles, putting it just ahead of BMW which sold 311,014 vehicles over the same period. Despite holding on to its lead in the luxury vehicle sales race, Mercedes-Benz sold 6.3 per cent fewer vehicles in 2018 than it did the previous year. In contrast, BMW’s sales figures represent a 1.7 per cent jump over the previous year.

Following the two Germans in third place was Lexus, who shifted 298,310 vehicles in 2018, a 2.2 per cent decrease on the previous year. Audi maintained fourth position, delivering 223,323 vehicles over the same time period.

Interestingly, Acura is now the fifth best-selling luxury car manufacturer in the States as it sold 158,934 vehicles during 2018, putting it slightly ahead of Cadillac and its 154,702 deliveries.

All up, the luxury vehicle segment in the United States accounted for 2,027,312 sales in 2018, or just 0.3 per cent less than in 2017.

In a statement to Automotive News, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, Dietmar Exler, said local dealerships were the reason for the company’s high sales.

“Despite the delayed availability of some of our most popular models in 2018, we achieved a solid closing of the year thanks to the excellent work of our dealers.

“With the youngest and most comprehensive lineup in the luxury segment, we will continue to advance our position in the marketplace.”

Although most luxury car manufacturers reported lower sales in 2018 than in 2017, Porsche enjoyed a 3.2 per cent increase, shifting 57,202 units.

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  • Bash

    I’m surprised that Lexus managed to sell that much, with all their ugly face line up. Besides I’m sure less than 1% of what they sold is the new LS.

    • USOZ

      Lexus needs to completely redo their sedan and suv lineup, especially the latter. The GX and LX are fossils and lame. Where is the bigger crossover that was supposed to get a proper third-row? The RX-L while appreciated is a stop-gap vehicle.

      BMW and Mercedes-Benz are only winning the race because they keep inventing niches to keep them ahead. It’s mind boggling how many products they offer. They need to consolidate and simply their lineup.

      • Bash

        +1 precisely, I wish I can give you many more upvotes.

      • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Fake account, this is Tina_Dang!

      • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Apparently, Lexus reliability will outlast Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles combined. Mr. Toyoda has explicitly said, “I am not after sales; we are after quality products.” Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz barely outsold Lexus and as mentioned, dealers helped Mercedes-Benz to retained the crown, Tina.

      • Merc1

        Why would they do that? Clearly their strategy is working. BMW and Mercedes especially are filling in their lineup from top to bottom with better products than Lexus, Cadillac, Acura, Infiniti, and just about anyone else. Audi is also doing the same. There is a reason why they own the worldwide luxury car market.


    • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Lexus loyalist is unreal. The Asians and middle-aged European-Americans abundantly appreciate Lexus.

  • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Mercedes-Benz sold 6.3 fewer vehicles, which mean a percentage of that 6.3 has went over to BMW, and with BMW all-new upcoming vehicles, I think BMW may win the luxury vehicle war in 2019.

    • Nordschleife

      I love how you just assume all 6.3 went to BMW. I am pretty sure 4.5 of that went to Tesla.

      • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        I love how you misread my comment entirely; I said “a [percentage].”

        • Nordschleife

          I don’t know if I misread your comment entirely but I’ll admit I missed a key component so for that you have my apologies.

    • ImNachoLover

      Isn’t MB introducing their next generation of vehicles in 2019 starting with the new S Class? Unless BMW is also launching a new Gen of vehicles or MB releases a very ugly S, your bet doesn’t seem likely.

      • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        The new 3-series, new 8-series, first-ever X7, all-new X-5, refreshed 7-series, upcoming 2-series. The S-class may not go on sale until later this year, the GLS won’t go on sale until later this year; BMW may win in 2019.

        • driv3r

          Mercedes-Benz will introduce the all-new GLE, all-new A-Class sedan, all-new CLA-Class, all-new GLS-Class plus the full-effect of the updated C-Class models.
          What upcoming 2 series? Can’t see anything happening in the 2 series family for 2019.

          For me it will be pretty even for 2019.

          • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Mercedes-Benz barely outsold BMW in 2018, and this time I think BMW will win! The new 3-series will sell like hot cakes! BMW has an all-new IX3, New 1-series coming, all-new X7, X5, 8-series, refreshed 7-series, 2-series grand coupe, all-new X6, all-new Z4, all-new X3M, X4M, and X5M! That is 15 products! BMW will win this year!

  • PK

    Congrats Mercedes Benz on their 3 peat year of success! As a BMW fan I gotta give credit where credit’s due.

    • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Don’t forget to thank the Mercedes-Benz dealers, as well.

      • PK


    • Nordschleife

      I am not a BMW fan but I respect this comment.

  • Haywood Jablowme

    I just squirted off all over the place.

  • eye.surgeon

    The amazing thing is Tesla almost beat both BMW and Mercedes in US sales and will definitely outsell them both in the US in 2019. Tide is changing…

    • Trackhacker

      I don’t think so. Once the Germans start pumping out more mianstream EVs, it’s game over for Tesla.

    • Merc1

      Why is that amazing when they did it based on a vehicle that the Germans have no answer for and a lower price point?

      Once the Germans get their EVs to market it will be the end for Tesla and their crappy quality and service.


  • Christian Wimmer
    • USOZ

      The Best Or Nothing

      • Christian Wimmer

        MB really hit a home run with the new A-Class. The last generation and current CLA are not bad cars, but they feel a little half-hearted. They didn’t cut costs on the new one. This car feels premium. 🙂

    • Trackhacker

      Looks beautiful!

      • Christian Wimmer

        Thank you! Loving it! MBUX is awesome! 🙂

    • Ermal Morina

      congrats on your purchase. Great choice

  • USOZ

    That’s partly true.

    The other part is due to volume. MB and BMW are the only luxury brands that do not have a mainstream brand to rely on for volume. Lexus has Toyota, Acura has Honda, Audi has VW, Jag has TATA, etc. Due to be these companies having no mainstream brand to rely on they have to create niches to boost their volume. The negative effect of this…it dilutes the value of brand and both MB and BMW cannot give the attention to detail that they used to.

    • Seats & a steering wheel

      MB IS a mainstream brand now esp with A-Class that has boosted volumes greatly, not to mention CLA and GLA that sit on the same platform. Lexus for example only offer the admittedly mediocre CT as an entry level vehicle, they have very little in the sub IS/C-Class segment to boost volume. Only now they have the UX which will undoubtedly boost sales but other than LS, ES and LC they have an aging line up which still sells well as they are great products.

      • Merc1

        Good quality, reliability and service, but Lexus is behind in nearly everything else. They’re nothing to drive outside of the LC500 and GS F, terrible infotainment, old designs, and they have gaping holes in their lineup. They’re totally dependent on the NX, RX and ES. All forgettable outside of their reliability and beige leather.

        Mercedes is a mainstream luxury brand.


    • Merc1

      ” Lexus has Toyota, Acura has Honda, Audi has VW, Jag has TATA, etc”

      And this also hinders them all from truly going toe to toe with Mercedes and BMW. They’re all still dependent on family cars for *some* for their models.

      How in the world is the BMW and MB brands diluted when they’re selling and not having any trouble selling more expensive cars than all the rest? No one outside of Bentley or Rolls gives the attention that they used to.

      There is no brand dilution among consumers only with armchair commentators. You’ll know when a brand like Mercedes has lost it when they can’t sell expensive cars like the S or GLS anymore because of cars like the CLA or A-Class, it simply hasn’t happened. Dealers are sold out of the new G-Class all over the world at this time. There is no dilution that people have been talking about since the day the 190E went on sale.


    • Cobrajet

      Mercedes have commercial vehicles and taxi fleet sales, so they had volume from day 1.
      The attention to detail is not worse than before and is better than those that have less niches.

  • Trackhacker

    Crown for most unreliable cars? Cause I don’t think the Germans deserve any other crowns for there cars.

  • Matthew Raworth

    Bmw’s are awful cars, and not luxurious in the slightest. The cabins are so cramped, the seating position is too low, even at its highest. They make you feel really claustrophobic when you drive them. Yes they have good spec, and plush leather, and cool gadgets, but so do A lot of cars. I just don’t understand why people like BMW so much 🤷‍♂️

    • Rivaldo

      If you want hight seating position, buy a truck.

      • Matthew Raworth

        I don’t know why I would do that when I could just buy a Merc 😏

    • Merc1

      Yeah clearly a BMW is not for you.


  • Fabio P

    I prefer Alfa Romeo!
    Other than bmw, mercedes and audi greatly beaten by Giulia Quadrifoglio!!!
    german cars sh*t…

    • Rivaldo

      You have the money for Quadriofoglio ? Go for it, but here we talk about sales of regular models, no M, AMG, RS.

      • Fabio P

        In the list of the Alfa Romeo Giulia there are normal engines (not cloverleaf) type 2.0 and 2.2 of cildrata with powers varying between 160, 190, 200, 210, 280 horsepower.
        And stylistically speaking the Giulia is more beautiful than the German cars of shit

  • TheBelltower

    None of this matters unless we know the average transaction price. If a luxury brand is selling mostly non-luxury models to hit their sales volume, then that matters.

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