Numbers don't lie.
Despite new car sales being down for all automakers in the first half of 2020, Mercedes-Benz is still maintaining a solid US market sales lead over its chief rival, BMW. At the end of last year, BMW managed to steal Mercedes' luxury sales crown, but 2020 has been a very different story.
Automotive News points out that sales figures for all major luxury brands have arrived, except for Jaguar Land Rover, and the results speak for themselves. The sales figures for the first six months of this year found Mercedes has an almost 16,800-vehicle lead over BMW. More specifically, Mercedes sold 59,461 vehicles compared to BMW's 50,957 vehicles in the second quarter alone. Mercedes entered Q2 following a solid Q1 when it sold a total of 67,746 units, not including vans. BMW, meanwhile, made 59,455 deliveries.
So what's been the key to Mercedes' success even though, like all luxury brands, it experienced a troubling double-digit percentage sales decline in Q2? The answer is crossovers. The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class was the brand's best-seller in Q2 with a total of 9,500 units. The Mercedes GLC followed with 9,461 deliveries. The BMW X5, the GLE's most direct rival, sold 8,517 units in Q2. The GLC's X3 rival, meanwhile, sold a near-equal number of units.
As Mercedes and BMW fight it out, other luxury brands aren't fairing as well. Take Lexus, for example. Its Q2 sales dropped by 27 percent to 50,456 units. Audi managed just 34,843 deliveries and Tesla 36,800. If this sales rate continues, Mercedes will once again achieve the luxury sales crown for the year.
However, the year is only halfway over and a lot can still happen. Automakers have done their best to adapt to the new normal following the global pandemic by helping dealerships set up online sales methods and contactless customer deliveries.
Luxury brands already had an advantage going into this because they're more accustomed to providing higher levels of customer service, such as home deliveries. We've also seen brands, such as Audi, offer attractive financing options. Still, even if Mercedes does beat BMW again come next December 31, the year's overall sales will not be anywhere near as good as 2019.