But could a third luxury brand be a wildcard?
BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been battling for years for the title of the best-selling luxury brand in the vital and highly profitable US market, especially when it comes to crossovers like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. Every quarter of every year the numbers are announced, and going into the last few months of 2018 it appears to be a neck-and-neck race, according to Automotive News. It's been an extremely close race so far in 2018 between the two German luxury brands, with Mercedes outselling BMW by only 319 vehicles, not including commercial vans, in the first nine months of this year.
Why is that important to note? Because the automaker leading three quarters into the year finished first by December 31, a trend that's happened over the past five years.
Six years ago, however, BMW managed to pull out ahead by year's end even though it was behind Mercedes by 5,200 vehicles going into October. Can it manage another victory over its main German rival for 2018? It's totally possible. "BMW really has a legitimate shot at jumping Mercedes," Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo told Automotive News. "They're definitely poised to close strong."
Mercedes has experienced some delivery delays over the past few months for some of its 2019 models, but sources claim it has since worked out these inventory issues for the specific purpose of wrapping up 2018 as strong as possible. However, there could also be a wildcard suddenly tossed into the mix.
Best example: back in 2012 when Lexus launched its "December to Remember" sale. BMW just managed to squeeze out an end of year victory over its Japanese rival by just 1,422 units. Point being, the luxury car yearly sales race the over till it's over. Another example from 2012 that further proves this: Mercedes went into December 1,800 units ahead of BMW. And despite also going against that huge last-minute push from Lexus, BMW edged out a victory over both.