Mercedes Benz Increases Its U.S. Luxury Lead Over BMW On Strong CLA Sales

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz widened its U.S. luxury-vehicle lead over the BMW brand in November as sales of the new CLA compact coupe contributed almost all of the Daimler unit's gain.

Mercedes sold 3,623 CLAs in the car's second full month of availability in the U.S. market, according to a statement from the company. The total increase was 4,061, or 13 percent from a year earlier, to a November record of 34,376 vehicles.

That extended the Mercedes brand's lead over BMW for the year to 7,610 vehicles, from 4,986 through October. The Daimler unit is seeking to end BMW's two-year reign in annual U.S. luxury sales -- even though Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in July that he expected his company to come up short again in 2013.

BMW brand reported November sales of 31,752, a 2 percent increase from a year earlier. The automaker posted gains of 22 percent for its 3-series and 4-series cars and 13 percent for its X1 compact SUV.

The figures don't include Daimler's cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW's Mini brand, which aren't luxury vehicles.

BMW's status as annual leader for 2012 was based on reported sales. By vehicle registrations, Mercedes topped BMW last year, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co. Through this September, owners had registered 216,724 new BMW vehicles in the U.S., compared with 206,952 from Mercedes, according to Polk.

Lexus, Cadillac

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus, the top-selling luxury-auto brand in the U.S. for 11 years through 2010, posted a 13 percent increase in November, helped by a 99 percent gain for the entry-level IS sedan. Deliveries rose to 25,611 for the month and have climbed 12 percent to 239,090 for the year, Toyota said in a statement.

General Motors Co.'s Cadillac reported an 11 percent sales increase to 16,172, on demand for the new ATS and XTS sedans. Cadillac sales for the year have advanced 25 percent to 164,378, GM said in a statement.

U.S. sales of Audi rose 13 percent to 13,636, the company said in a statement. Audi, which has posted record sales for 35 months in a row, reported increases of 31 percent for the Q5 SUV and 32 percent for the A6 sedan. Sales for the year are up 13 percent to 141,048.

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