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BMW Australia remains confident it can once again become the best selling luxury brand in Australia, in due time.

The company recorded its best June on record last month with 2184 sales, while year-to-date sales are up by 16 percent at 12,602. Mercedes-Benz remains ahead, however, with 17,889 sales so far this year.

The gap of 5287 units between the fierce German rivals has in part been due to the huge success of the Mercedes-Benz C- and CLA-Class models, which together account for 50 percent of the medium car segment above $60,000. Likewise, the A and B Class models account for a healthy 34.8 percent of the small car segment above $40,000.

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The new C-Class has so far this year managed 4857, while the CLA sits at 1690. In contrast, the BMW 3 Series sits at 2012 – or 2633 if we include the 3 Series Gran Turismo and 4 Series Gran Coupe.

In contrast to Australian sales figures, the BMW 3 Series is the best selling luxury car in the world (as is BMW as a brand) and even in the German market, the 3 Series and C-Class are much closer in the sales race than in Australia. In essence, the success of the C-Class here is somewhat of an anomaly on the global scale of things.

Nonetheless, the Bavarian brand says it is happy with how the 3 Series is performing in Australia.

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“When you talk about being number one, every company no matter where you are or what industry or what product you have, everybody wants to be number one,” BMW Australia’s director of corporate communications, Lenore Fletcher, told CarAdvice at the launch of the model’s mid-life update in Munich this week.

“The automotive industry is no different, obviously BMW is still number one worldwide and it’s simply in Australia where there’s an offset in that particular segment.”

According to Fletcher the sales gap is mostly down to product life cycles at BMW, which last outsold Mercedes-Benz locally in the SUV and passenger segment in 2012, and not outright since 1998.

“We are in a position where we have had a lot of new products come through but we also have a lot of product that is still mid-cycle. So I think that we do want to be number one, certainly,” Fletcher said.

“What are we going to do to become number one? I think it’s going to take some time, but the key here is that we are really focused on the company itself and we keep on going back to everybody wanting to be number one but we are really focused on the sustainability of the brand and the brand values, we are focused on the sustainability of research and technology which is funded through any profits made from the vehicles.”

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One segment in which BMW currently leads in Australia is in large SUVs (over $70,000) with the X5 outselling the soon-to-be-replaced Mercedes-Benz ML 2299 to 1148.

Where it will no doubt come under more pressure is the medium SUV segment, where Mercedes has never competed in in the past, a fact that will all change when the new C-Class based GLC arrives later this year, taking on the BMW X3 and popular Audi Q5.

How quickly BMW can knock Mercedes-Benz from the top spot in Australia remains to be seen, with both brands competing aggressively for market share, while third place Audi is just 1195 sales away from taking silver.




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