According to the data, the answer is maybe.
The beginning of June means that 2019 is almost halfway over, confirming that yes, time really is moving too fast. A lot has happened in the car world this year, but among the more troubling trends is a shift towards consolidation from companies that were once competitors, a sign that rocky days are ahead for automakers.
Mercedes and BMW are two examples of that, with both companies announcing a partnership earlier in the year to work on autonomous vehicles so that each could save money on research and development. It’s interesting, though, because the partnership is taking place at the same time as BMW is attempting to unseat Mercedes from its spot on the luxury car sales throne. It’s a sign that neither company is going easy on the other, and that both plan to keep standards high so they don't get lazy while working together.
With both automakers just announcing how many sales they’ve tallied during the first five months of 2019, it’s possible for us to see how close this race is. BMW is doing pretty well this year because from January through the end of May, it sold 124,813 vehicles in North America. That's up from the 123,979 cars it sold during the same period in 2018.
Mercedes is right on BMW’s tail, coming in with a not-at-all-shabby 121,200 vehicles sold in the US during the same period of time. While US sales alone hardly mean BMW will beat Mercedes in the global sales fight this year, it does signify that the maker of the 3 Series is getting closer to that goal. Especially when considering Mercedes’ US sales are actually dropping, with this year’s numbers showing an 8.6% drop from last year’s 132,657 sales over the same period.
While BMW can give credit to strong demand for its new 3 Series (which is proof the sedan isn’t dead yet), its X3 "Sports Activity Vehicle” still makes up the majority of the automaker’s sales in America.
"We owe much of our continued growth in 2019 to the new 3 Series sedan and our fleet of U.S.-built Sports Activity Vehicles,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO, BMW of North America. "I’ve said it before, but as a result of our ongoing product offensive, we have the right product that our customers are looking for right now.”
There is, however, trouble brewing for BMW in the form of a potential new front in America’s trade war. If Trump’s tariffs on Mexico go into place on June 10th, it could send prices of the 3 Series up (and in turn, send customers away) given that the company recently started building the 3 Series in Mexico.