Daimler AG is coping with the coronavirus pandemic’s disruption to the U.S. luxury-car market better than its German rival, registering half the magnitude of sales decline BMW AG sustained in the first half of the year.
Sales at Daimler AG’s luxury brand fell 14% in the first six months compared with BMW’s 28% plunge. After posting much better second-quarter numbers on Wednesday, Mercedes leads BMW by almost 18,000 vehicles.
Mercedes is benefiting from a refreshed lineup, with the automaker having given a face-lift to its top-selling GLE and GLC crossovers in the past year. Sales of the three-row GLS SUV also jumped 36% in the second quarter. Virus-related lockdowns in key luxury markets including New York, New Jersey and California were still a challenge for all premium brands.
The GLE and GLS are produced at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Alabama.
BMW, which won the U.S. luxury sales crown last year for the first time since 2015, said sales of its big three-row SUV, the X7, slumped 38% in the second quarter, while deliveries of its mid-size X3 crossover fell 45%.
U.S. sales for Audi, the luxury division for Volkswagen AG, fell 35% from April through June and were down 25% for the year. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus sales fell 35% for the quarter and 21% in the first half.
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