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Mercedes Hotwheel illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Mercedes-Benz Drops in US Luxury Car Sales

By Nica San Juan

It was a close race right to the finish line for the top luxury car brands in the US in 2020. For the second consecutive year, BMW clinched the top spot.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, the Bavarian automaker sold a total of 278,732 units during the year. Compared to its 2019 tally, that marked a 17.5% sales decline. Its best-selling model was the X3, which posted 59,941 unit sales.

The Munich-based company had a strong Q4 2020, contributing significantly to its crossing the finish line in the first place. During the three-month period, it sold a total of 98,750 cars. Thanks to this impressive rebound, BMW’s unit sales in Q4 2020 were a mere 2% lower than Q4 2019.

German rival Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 274,916 units in 2020, marking a decline of 13% year-over-year (YoY). Just like BMW, Mercedes too had SUVs in the lead, with the GLC-Class selling 52,626 units during the year.

Generally, Mercedes’ SUV lineup had a strong year in the US accounting for close to 65% of total annual sales. However, Mercedes was not the second best-selling premium brand. The honor went to the Japanese brand Toyota Lexus, which sold 275,041. There was a difference of only 125 units between the second and third best-sellers.

Compared to the two German brands, Lexus had the best year in terms of percentage decline, dropping by 7.7% only. Lexus RX was its top-selling model, posting 101,059 unit sales, almost as much as BMW and Mercedes’ best-selling models combined.

Audi took the fourth spot on the list of best-selling luxury brands in the US. With a total of 186,620 unit sales, the automaker posted a 17% YoY decline. Rounding up the top five was Cadillac with 129,495, down by 17.1% from 2019.

Volvo was in the sixth position, the only US luxury brand to post a percentage increase in sales. It sold 110,129 units, marking a 1.8% increase YoY. Lincoln sold 105,410 units (-6.1%), Infiniti 79,502 (-32.5%) and Porsche 57,294 (-7%).

Mercedes-Benz Clinches Top Spot Globally with 2.16 Million Unit Sales

On a global scale, Mercedes-Benz narrowly outpaced BMW to secure the title of the best-selling luxury vehicle brand worldwide in 2020. It was the fifth consecutive year in which Mercedes beat its archrival and topped the ranks.

Over the 12-month period, it sold a total of 2,164,187 units according to Auto Industriya. The figure marked a decline of 7.5% over 2019 when it sold 2,339,562 units.

It is worth noting that while its sales in North America and Europe sank compared to 2019, the Asia Pacific market saw a 4.7% increase. China was the major force behind the uptick as it had a sales increase of 11.7%.

The GLC was its best-selling model during the year, moving a total of 320,000 units. Mercedes reported a 12.9% increase in SUV and crossover sales during the year. For its all-new S-Class, there are more than 40,000 customers on the waiting list.

On the other hand, BMW was the world’s second best-selling luxury car brand, falling 136,000 units behind the #1. It posted a slightly lower decline in sales, -7.2% YoY, with a total of 2,028,659 units sold. Audi took a distant third spot with 1,692,773 unit sales in 2020 and a decline of 8.3% YoY.

Li Auto Deliveries Soar by 530% in December 2020

Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi have had over 60% of China’s luxury car market under their control for years according to Bloomberg. But while the Chinese market drove their growth in 2020, they ceded share to Tesla and electric upstarts, Nio and Li.

Nio delivered a total of 43,728 electric vehicles (EVs) in 2020, marking an increase of 113% YoY according to Inside EEVs. These included 27,945 ES6s, 10,861 ES8s and 4,922 EC6s. The automaker launched its first EV sedan, the ET7 on January 9, 2021.

As of mid-December 2020, Li Auto announced cumulative sales of 30,000 units year-to-date (YTD). In December 2020 alone, the upstart delivered 6,126 vehicles, an increase of 530% YoY. Q4 2020 saw a total of 14,464 deliveries from the automaker.

In response to the growing threat from these brands, the aforementioned German car brands are rapidly expanding their offerings of electric vehicles. Daimler is planning to launch four purely battery-powered EV models in 2021, including the EQA compact set to launch in January. Meanwhile, BMW is planning to double its offering of pure EVs and hybrids to 25 by 2023.

In total, Mercedes sold 160,000 EVs in 2020, compared to BMWs 193,000. Audi was far behind the two with 47,000 deliveries of its e-tron SUVs.