A recovery in demand continued over last month for the third German luxury carmaker, Mercedes-Benz as sales of cars rose 15.3 per cent to 93,100 units in April. “That is a strong start for the second quarter, in which we want to increase our sales considerably once again,” said Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing for Daimler’s passenger car business.
“We are also registering a clear upturn in new orders, in particular thanks to high demand in China and the USA as well as the big success of the E-Class and S-Class models.” All the same, Mercedes continues to lag luxury carmakers BMW and Audi as the cumulative gap over the first four months added up to 20,000 vehicles.
Daimler too is struggling to see growth with its Smart brand of small cars. After an 11 per cent crash to just 9,000 units in April, Daimler hopes a refreshed ForTwo in the next quarter will provide a boost to sales. Mercedes may have lost out on growth to its two domestic rivals, but has reported the fattest margins in the first quarter with earnings before interest and tax roaring back to 7 per cent of turnover. The figures have easily surpassed Audi and BMW.
BMW sales jumped 16.9 per cent to 98,494 vehicles in April while Audi nearly overtook its larger rival after 18.1 percent growth last month to 96,700 vehicles. Through the first four months, BMW leads with sales of just over 364,300 units while Audi weighed in 360,750 in sales.
Thanks to wide success of its premium subcompact cars sold under the Mini brand, BMW remains the world’s largest luxury car maker. Daimler has tried to position its Smart brand as a fuel-efficient alternative to the Mini but so far demand is languishing at low levels.
BMW’s Rolls-Royce unit too enjoys constant growth, expanding its product range to include the smaller Ghost next to its larger Phantom model. Daimler’s Maybach is suffering a continual sales decline and delivered just about 200 super luxury cars in 2009.