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by Tim Beissmann

Audi and Mercedes-Benz have narrowed BMW’s lead in the global luxury car sales race in the first half of 2014.

Though BMW’s sales rose 10 per cent to 886,347 vehicles between January and June, Audi recorded an 11 per cent increase to 869,350 and Mercedes-Benz a 13 per cent rise to 783,520. The half-year results are records for all three manufacturers.

The six-month sales tally sees Audi trail BMW by just 16,997 vehicles after the first half of the year, and leaves Mercedes-Benz 102,827 adrift of top spot

Audi says strong sales in China, Spain and the US contributed to its first-half growth. Global sales of the A3 increased 49 per cent, while the Q3 and Q7 SUVs rose 37 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class sales more than doubled to the end of June, while its compact range – including the A-Class hatch, B-Class MPV, CLA-Class sedan and GLA-Class SUV – climbed 24 per cent.

The rollout of the all-new C-Class will give Mercedes a further boost in the second half of the year. The new luxury mid-sizer arrives in Australia next month.

BMW’s strongest performers included its large X5 and X6 SUVs, sales of which increased 36 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

BMW is likewise expecting a second-half boost from the continued rollout of its 2 Series range, including the all-new Active Tourer, and the brand-new X4 crossover. The 2 Series Active Tourer arrives in Australia in November, while the X4 launches locally later this month.

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Mercedes-Benz, with 15,006 passenger and commercial vehicle sales, leads the way in Australia ahead of BMW (10,856) and Audi (9661). It’s the smallest of that trio that has enjoyed the largest growth so far in 2014, however, with Audi’s sales increasing 18.5 per cent. Mercedes sales climbed 14.3 per cent while BMW rose 8.7 per cent.

Australians continue to flock to premium brands, despite the market’s overall 2.4 per cent slide, with almost all luxury manufacturers experiencing growth in the first half of 2014.




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