BMW M has beaten Mercedes-AMG in the international performance-car sales race in 2020, despite a global pandemic – however, the brands' Australian arms tell a contrasting tale.
BMW M shifted 144,218 vehicles globally in 2020, compared to 125,129 Mercedes-AMGs – a 6 per cent increase for BMW, but a 5.3 per cent decrease for Mercedes, indicating a far more decisive sales win over BMW's 3693-unit lead over AMG in 2019.
Despite AMG's sales drop, both brands posted new sales records in the US and China, with M claiming a 60 per cent sales spike in Russia and Korea.
However, while BMW M outsold Mercedes-AMG globally in 2020, the inverse is true in Australia, with the three-pointed star brand outperforming its Bavarian rival by a notable margin.
While Mercedes-AMG could not confirm a specific sales figure for the entire year, a spokesperson confirmed to CarAdvice that AMG models accounted for 20 per cent of Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales in Australia in 2020, pointing to total sales of around 5900 vehicles – comfortably exceeding the 4659-unit tally notched up by BMW M.
Above: Mercedes-AMG A 45 S. Top of story: BMW X5 M Competition.
That's despite an overall market down 13.7 per cent year-on-year, and sales of all BMW and Mercedes-Benz models (including standard and performance models) increasing by 0.9 per cent and decreasing by 7.9 per cent respectively.
Despite its second-place finish, BMW's Australian arm can proudly claim a 7.9 per cent sales increase over the 4288 vehicles it shifted last year, with the brand reporting sales growth of 210 per cent for the X3 M Competition and 172 per cent for its coupe-styled X4 M Competition sibling.
Increases of 5300 per cent for the X5 M and 690 per cent for the X6 M have also been claimed, though it's worth noting new-generation versions of these models only touched down in the first half of the year, with their predecessors out of production for around two years.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-AMG's Australian performance should approximately account for a staggering 22 per cent increase over the 4798-unit sales figure it posted in 2019.
Above: BMW M2 CS.
Around one in five BMWs sold in Australia in 2020 wore an M badge – a figure matched within the Mercedes passenger car and AMG line-ups.
"The fact that we were able to conclude this exceptionally challenging year with yet a further record is great validation of our consistent growth strategy," said CEO of BMW M GmbH, Markus Flasch, discussing the global sales result.
"We can be particularly proud of the fact that we were able not only to defend our market dominance as the most successful provider of performance and high-performance automobiles, but also to have even expanded it."
The sales success of each brand in each region can be attributed to the launches of a range of models, namely the A45 S hot hatch and GLA and GLB small sports SUVs in the AMG corner, and the aforementioned X5/X6 M Competition siblings, updated M5 Competition and new M2 CS and M440i coupe in the BMW court.
Above: Mercedes-AMG GLB 35. Bottom of story: 2021 BMW M3 and M4.
2021 promises to be an even stronger year for both brands, with BMW M confirming the debut of the M5 CS super sedan later in January and the market launch of the new M3 and M4 in March, with European and Australian launches expected to occur at the same time.
All-wheel-drive will be made available for the M3 and M4 by the end of the year, while the M4 coupe's drop-top sibling, the M4 Convertible, will debut in the first half of the year, ahead of the European summer.
New models in Mercedes-AMG's pipeline are expected to include the new-generation C63 S sports mid-sizer – likely with four-cylinder, plug-in hybrid power – and the production version of the F1-inspired One hypercar.