Tag Archive | "Mercedes"

VW’s Audi beats Mercedes with record January sales


Audi outsold Mercedes-Benz in January as demand in China and the United States helped Volkswagen’s flagship division post record sales and analysts said the lead over its German rival may widen, reported Reuters.

Audi said on Monday sales rose 10 percent last month to 137,700 cars and sport-utility vehicles with the world’s two largest car markets and Germany all posting double-digit gains.

Audi sold 15 percent more vehicles in China, its No. 1 market, even though overall demand there is slowing, and managed 4.7 percent growth in Europe despite a 13 percent slide in Russia.

“We have made a good start to the year although global economic uncertainties remain considerable,” Audi sales chief Luca de Meo said, adding that January sales laid the ground for another increase in volumes this year.

With overhauls of its top-selling A4 saloon and the flagship Q7 SUV coming to dealerships this year, and more SUV offerings in the pipeline, Audi’s advantage over Mercedes may expand to 178,000 cars by 2020 from 136,000 last year, research firm IHS Automotive said.

By comparison, the gap between the top-selling luxury car maker BMW and Audi may widen to 92,000 vehicles from 69,000, IHS said, leaving the pecking order in the three-way German contest unchanged.

Audi said January sales benefited from strong momentum for the enhanced A3 compact series and the revamped TT sports car.

Mercedes last Friday posted record sales of 125,865 models in January, a 14 percent gain from a year earlier.

BMW is expected to publish its January deliveries later this week.

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BMW Retakes U.S. Luxury Auto Sales Crown from Mercedes-Benz


BMW on Monday regained bragging rights as the top-selling luxury brand in the United States, ending the one-year reign of German rival Mercedes, reported Reuters.

BMW ended with a lead last year of more than 9,000 vehicles over Mercedes-Benz, which in 2013 seized a title BMW had held for the previous two years.

The BMW brand sold 339,738 vehicles in the U.S. market last year, a 9.8 percent jump from 2013. BMW’s sales growth outpaced the overall U.S. auto market’s 5.9 percent increase. Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand showed an increase of 5.7 percent to 330,391 vehicles.

Last year, Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW by about 3,000 vehicles. BMW won the sales crown in 2011 and 2012.

Toyota Motor Corp’s Lexus brand narrowed the gap on the two German brands, but remained in third last year with 311,389 vehicles, up 13.7 percent.

From 2000 to 2010, Lexus was the luxury sales leader, but the two German brands jumped the Japanese brand in 2011 when a damaging earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand overtook General Motors Co’s Cadillac for fourth place. Audi’s sales of 182,011 were up 15.2 percent while Cadillac sales fell 6.5 percent to 170,750 vehicles.

Honda Motor Co’s Acura brand showed a 1.5 percent gain in the year to 167,843 vehicles, followed by Nissan Motor Co’s Infiniti at 117,300 vehicles, up 0.8 percent.

In eighth place but gaining was Lincoln, the Ford Motor Co luxury brand that a couple of decades ago was the luxury market leader. Lincoln’s sales rose 15.6 percent in the year to 94,474 vehicles.

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Strong Mercedes Sales Have Yet to Move it Past Audi


Mercedes-Benz keeps delivering double-digit sales growth, but its overhauled line-up of luxury cars has yet to move it past German rival Audi, reported Reuters.

Deliveries of Daimler’s flagship passenger-car brand rose 10.4 percent in May to a record 134,031 vehicles, helped by 30 percent growth in China, the company said on Friday.

That compared with 152,000 deliveries, or 10.8 percent growth, at Volkswagen’s Audi which has outsold Mercedes every month this year.

Having eclipsed Mercedes in 2011 as the world’s No. 2 luxury carmaker behind BMW, Audi sold 72,516 more cars than its Stuttgart-based rival in the first five months. Last year, the gap was 114,000.

But launches in March of Mercedes’s new C-Class saloon and the GLA offroader may pave the way for a second-half turnaround, analysts say. Other recent overhauls include the top-of-the-line S-Class and the E-Class, both launched about a year ago.

“Mercedes will surpass Audi after the summer, that’s when their refreshed lineup will take off,” said Hanover-based NordLB analyst Frank Schwope.

The world’s No. 3 premium automaker has a goal of pushing sales above 1.5 million this year, after 1.46 million in 2013.

By comparison, Audi is aiming to “clearly” exceed last year’s record 1.58 million sales, while BMW is planning for deliveries of 2 million or more, after selling a record 1.96 million in 2013.

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Autobrake Ratings Show Improvement


Via The Detroit News:

Washington —The auto industry is moving quickly to adopt advanced technologies to help drivers avoid front-end crashes by adding systems that automatically brake the vehicles. Automakers are being prompted in part by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which last year unveiled a new rating system for front-crash prevention.

In its latest testing of 24 cars and SUVs released today, IIHS said 21 earned advanced or higher ratings.

Four of those vehicles with advanced options earned perfect scores: the 2014 BMW 5 Series and X5, 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and 2015 Hyundai Genesis.

Four U.S. cars rounded out the eight models getting the highest rating of superior: General Motors Co.’s 2014 Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala earned the top rating when equipped with the automaker’s forward-collision warning and auto braking system. The 2014 Buick LaCrosse earns the next-highest rating — advanced — when it has the same system. All of these cars also are available with a warning system only, which earns a basic rating.

GM previously got superior ratings for the Cadillac ATS and SRX, which were included in the first round of testing in 2013.

The only other U.S. vehicle to get rated in this round of testing was Chrysler Group’s Dodge Durango, which won an advanced rating.

Besides the eight models earning superiors, 13 were deemed advanced and three got basic ratings. IIHS rates vehicles as superior, advanced or basic for front-crash prevention depending on whether they offer auto braking and, if so, how effective it is in tests at 12 and 25 mph. Some systems merely alert drivers of a possible crash, rather than apply the brakes in an emergency situation.

The insurance industry-funded group said more than 20 percent of 2014 models offer a front-crash prevention system with automatic braking, twice as many as in 2012. Forward-collision warning systems are offered as an option on nearly 40 percent of 2014 models.

Many automakers have improved the systems to meet new tests set by IIHS, because many consumers consult the ratings before buying a new car.

“We are already seeing improvements from automakers since the initial launch of our ratings last September,” said David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. “BMW and Lexus, for example, have added more braking capability to their systems, which has paid off in higher ratings.”

BMW’s improved system did well in testing. By contrast, its 2013 3 series was rated basic. The earlier model’s system braked for a stopped car ahead only if sensors first detected the car moving before it stopped.

Toyota’s Lexus luxury unit improved its radar-based systems to provide more braking capability, garnering an advanced rating for the GS large car and IS midsize car.

The systems show great promise to save hundreds — if not thousands — of lives by warning inattentive drivers before they hit a car ahead, or alerting them they are about to go off the road — or intervening to prevent crashes. Those types of wrecks account for 60 percent of fatal highway accidents, and the new technology could substantially reduce them.

“We know that this technology is helping drivers avoid crashes,” Zuby said. “The advantage of autobrake is that even in cases where a crash can’t be avoided entirely, the system will reduce speed. Reducing the speed reduces the amount of damage that occurs to both the striking and struck cars, and reduces injuries to people in those cars.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration missed a self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline to decide whether to advance regulations to require the systems in future vehicles. Nearly five months later, the auto safety agency has offered no timetable for making a decision. NHTSA could simply opt to note whether vehicles have systems on window stickers as part of its New Car Assessment Program.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has praised the technologies, but opposes making them mandatory. It notes that the electronic systems can add $1,000 to $3,500 per vehicle, though costs will decline since most are software-based.

It takes a long time for advanced safety features, which typically debut on luxury cars, to reach all cars on the road. IIHS estimates it takes at least 30 years for a safety feature to spread to 95 percent of vehicles on the road.

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Mercedes Margin Disappoints on Spending to Beat Audi


Via Bloomberg

Daimler AG, the world’s third-largest maker of luxury vehicles, reported a first-quarter profit margin for the Mercedes cars division that came up short of expectations as it spends on new models.

Earnings before interest and taxes at the maker of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan were 7 percent of sales, narrower than some analysts forecast and trailing the 10.1 percent at Volkswagen AG’s Audi.

“For Mercedes still to be only doing 7 percent margins in a really top quarter for the S-Class is a little bit disappointing,” Harald Hendrikse, an analyst with Nomura Holdings Inc. in London, said on Bloomberg Television. The company “needs to cut more costs” to reach its long-term target of generating a 10 percent return on car sales.

Daimler is investing in bringing out 30 Mercedes models by the end of the decade, including a dozen all-new vehicles, as part its effort to gain the top spot in global luxury-car sales and profitability. Mercedes, which targets cost cuts of 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) by the end of 2014, has shown signs of progress by increasing deliveries in the first quarter at a faster pace than Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Audi.

Group Profit

The disappointing profitability at Mercedes overshadowed Daimler’s 95 percent surge in first-quarter profit. Group Ebit climbed to 1.79 billion euros from 917 million euros a year ago, as profit from cars and trucks more than doubled, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement today.

“The sentiment on auto stocks in general has turned rather negative,” said Juergen Pieper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. “Investors are more skeptical and cautious and are fishing for problems.”

The German manufacturer’s stock fell as much as 3.3 percent to 65.59 euros and was down 1.8 percent at 4:06 p.m. in Frankfurt. The shares have gained 5.8 percent this year, valuing the company at 71.2 billion euros.

Daimler’s revenue climbed 13 percent to 29.5 billion euros on higher vehicle sales. First-quarter Mercedes deliveries jumped 15 percent to 374,300 cars, lifted by a 71 percent surge in demand for the high-margin S-Class sedan and a 28 percent gain in sales of compact models such as the GLA sport-utility vehicle, which went on sale in March.

Deliveries by segment-leading BMW and No. 2 Audi each rose 12 percent in the period. All three German luxury-car makers are targeting record sales in 2014.

Bearing Fruit

“Our strategy is paying off; our investments are bearing fruit,” Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in the statement. “As the year progresses, we will continue working systematically on our profitable growth path.”

Daimler stuck to a target to report Ebit from ongoing business this year that “significantly” exceeds 2013’s 7.9 billion euros. The company expects the pace of growth to accelerate in the course of the year.

“The first quarter should be the lowest quarter in cars and trucks,” Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said on a call with analysts today. “The pattern that you have seen last year — that the second-half earnings was better than the first half — will also be true this year.”

Mercedes-Benz Cars, which also makes the Smart two-seater, more than doubled first-quarter Ebit to 1.18 billion euros from 460 million euros a year earlier, lifted by sales gains in China and the U.S. and cost cutting. Its profit margin a year ago was 3.3 percent.

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BMW Fends Off Audi, Mercedes to Retain Luxury-Car Lead


(Bloomberg) – Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) held the lead in global luxury-car sales for the ninth straight year even as Audi and Mercedes step up efforts to overtake their rival.

Sales at the namesake brand increased 7.5 percent to a record 1.66 million cars in 2013, fueled by demand for the 3-series sedan and X1 compact sport-utility vehicle, the Munich-based manufacturer said. Including Mini and Rolls-Royce, deliveries rose 6.4 percent to 1.96 million vehicles in 2013.

“The BMW group posted record sales once again in 2013 and is clearly the No. 1 in the premium segment,” BMW sales chief Ian Robertson said in a statement. “Despite the prevailing headwinds in many markets, we aim to increase sales and make 2014 another record year.”

BMW is increasing spending on new models to fend off Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi, which have both vowed to take the lead in the segment by the end of the decade. To keep its edge, BMW plans to introduce the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, BMW showcased the new 2-Series compact coupe to help regain the luxury-car sales lead in the U.S., which it lost to Mercedes last year. The 2-Series will replace the 1-Series in the U.S. in the first quarter.

Narrower Gap
Both Audi and Mercedes narrowed the gap to BMW last year. Audi cut its deficit to 79,600 cars in 2013 from 85,000 the previous year, while Mercedes trailed by 193,500 vehicles compared with 220,000 in 2012.

“BMW still has quite a large edge over the competition,” said Frank Schwope, an analyst with Nord LB in Hanover, Germany. “Mercedes and Audi won’t able to catch up so quickly, as BMW can keep pace with new models.”

Audi reported an 8.3 percent rise in global sales in 2013 to a record 1.58 million cars, driven by the revamped compact A3 model and the brand’s growing line-up of SUVs. Mercedes, which lost the lead in luxury-car sales to BMW in 2005, delivered 1.46 million cars last year, up 11 percent.

Demand for BMW’s 3-Series surged 23 percent to more than 500,000 vehicles. The world’s best-selling luxury car will face tougher competition when Mercedes rolls out an overhauled version of the C-Class starting in March.

Deliveries of BMW’s X1 rose 9.2 percent to 161,000 vehicles. Mercedes is introducing the GLA compact SUV next year to compete with the BMW crossover.

Mercedes Gains
Mercedes, the world’s third-largest maker of luxury autos, sliced into No. 2 Audi’s sales advantage last year as its compact cars won new buyers. The company plans to further narrow the gap this year and is forecast to overtake Audi in 2015, according to forecasts from IHS Automotive.

Audi is responding with the new A3 sedan in the U.S. and a revamped version of the TT coupe in 2014. Over the next five years, Audi plans to spend 22 billion euros ($30 billion) to expand its lineup to 60 models from 49 and add production capacity in China, Brazil and Mexico.

All three German luxury-car brands posted sales records last year as they tap into rising wealth in countries such as China, India and Russia and a rebound in spending in the U.S.

This year, the manufacturers are again expected to grow. BMW is forecast to retain its lead with sales of 1.77 million vehicles, beating Ingolstadt-based Audi’s 1.66 million and Stuttgart-based Mercedes’s 1.56 million, according to data from IHS Automotive.

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