After German Primadonnas Submit, U.S. Light Vehicle Count Finally Official

Finally, a day later, the two German primadonnas, Daimler and BMW, handed in their homework, and America can get on with its life, knowing that Americans bought 1,243,784 light vehicles in December. This brought annual sales in the U.S. to the official total of 12,778,885 units, up 10 percent over 2010.

Now for the primadonnas. Executives at both German companies counted cars as if their careers depend on who’s on first. When they finally handed in their paperwork a day late, to everybody’s surprise, BMW squeaked by Mercedes by 2,715 units and a total of 247,907 bimmers for the year. That despite a sudden voracious appetite of American drivers for the Mercedes brand, which rose 28 percent to 25,701 in December, for an annual total of 245,192.

In the luxury races, you must eliminate BMW Minis, and on the Daimler side Smart and Mercedes Sprinter vans.

Two days ago, Edmunds still had different numbers and said that “Mercedes-Benz is expected to pull ahead to finish the year over BMW by about 1,100 vehicles.”

For the first time, BMW can call itself America’s king of luxury. But is that an excuse for letting a whole nation wait a day?

December U.S. Light Vehicle Sales

(Complete table)

AutomakerDec. 2011Dec. 2010Pct. chng.12 month


201112 month


2010Pct. chng.BMW Group32,57527,64318%305,766266,26915% BMW division26,83423,28015%247,907220,11313% Mini5,7114,32032%57,51145,64426% Rolls-Royce3043–30%348512–32%BMW Group32,57527,64318%305,766266,26915%Chrysler Group138,019100,70237%1,369,1141,085,21126% Chrysler Division23,97413,13283%221,346197,44612% Dodge41,54832,39028%451,040383,67518% Dodge/Ram68,14356,66020%708,650596,62719% Fiat2,325––%19,769––% Jeep43,57730,91041%419,349291,13844% Ram26,59524,27010%257,610212,95221%Chrysler Group138,019100,70237%1,369,1141,085,21126%Daimler AG28,00922,04427%267,016230,93416% Maybach35–40%3963–38% Mercedes-Benz27,29621,46927%261,769224,94416% Smart USA71057025%5,2085,927–12%Daimler AG28,00922,04427%267,016230,93416% Ford Motor Co.209,447190,19110%2,143,1011,964,0599% Ford division201,044173,73816%2,057,2101,752,51117% Ford/Lincoln/Mercury209,447190,19110%2,143,1011,931,53411% Lincoln8,4038,0604%85,64385,8280% Mercury–8,393–100%24893,195100% Volvo–––%–32,525–100%Ford Motor Co.209,447190,19110%2,143,1011,964,0599%General Motors234,351224,1475%2,503,7972,211,69913% Buick14,97417,095–12%177,633155,38914% Cadillac16,25916,718–3%152,389146,9254% Chevrolet161,158147,9389%1,775,8021,563,88114% GMC41,96042,1430%397,973333,20419% Hummer–38–100%–3,812–100% Pontiac–130–100%–1,182–100% Saab–––%–608–100% Saturn–85–100%–6,698–100%General Motors234,351224,1475%2,503,7972,211,69913%Honda (American)105,230129,616–19%1,147,2851,230,480–7% Acura13,12915,489–15%123,299133,606–8% Honda Division92,101114,127–19%1,023,9861,096,874–7%Honda (American)105,230129,616–19%1,147,2851,230,480–7%Hyundai Group94,15575,24625%1,131,183894,49627% Hyundai division50,76544,80213%645,691538,22820% Kia43,39030,44443%485,492356,26836%Hyundai Group94,15575,24625%1,131,183894,49627%Jaguar Land Rover5,8804,87521%50,37545,20411% Jaguar1,1371,180–4%12,27613,340–8% Land Rover4,7433,69528%38,09931,86420%Jaguar Land Rover5,8804,87521%50,37545,20411%Maserati23818032%2,3211,89722%Maserati23818032%2,3211,89722%Mazda22,35321,4794%250,426229,5669%Mazda22,35321,4794%250,426229,5669%Mitsubishi5,0324,8743%79,02055,68342%Mitsubishi5,0324,8743%79,02055,68342%Nissan100,92793,7308%1,042,534908,57015% Infiniti10,99012,502–12%98,461103,411–5% Nissan Division89,93781,22811%944,073805,15917%Nissan100,92793,7308%1,042,534908,57015%Porsche1,8342,567–29%29,02325,32015%Porsche1,8342,567–29%29,02325,32015%Saab Cars North America2701,074–75%5,6104,83816%Saab Cars North America2701,074–75%5,6104,83816%Subaru33,70126,69426%266,989263,8201%Subaru33,70126,69426%266,989263,8201%Suzuki2,5652,647–3%26,61823,99411%Suzuki2,5652,647–3%26,61823,99411%Toyota178,131177,4880%1,644,6601,763,595–7% Lexus25,35527,560–8%198,552229,329–13% Scion4,1593,9565%49,27145,6788% Toyota division148,617145,9722%1,396,8371,488,588–6% Toyota/Scion152,776149,9282%1,446,1081,534,266–6%Toyota178,131177,4880%1,644,6601,763,595–7%Volkswagen45,47434,61031%443,840359,88923% Audi12,65510,54620%117,561101,62916% Bentley31719761%1,8771,43031% VW division32,50223,86736%324,402256,83026%Volkswagen45,47434,61031%443,840359,88923%Volvo Cars NA5,3424,75612%67,24021,423214%Volvo Cars NA5,3424,75612%67,24021,423214%Other (estimate)2512433%2,9672,8972%TOTAL1,243,7841,144,8069%12,778,88511,589,84410%

Data courtesy Automotive News [sub].

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  • Alwaysinthecar Alwaysinthecar on Jan 06, 2012

    In the copy you say BMW sold 247,907. And that's what the chart says, too. Then you said that Daimler sold 245,192 Mercedes (although other auto industry sites say 245,231 for Mercedes and so does Reuters.) But the chart says Daimler sold 261,769 Mercedes. The chart separates Mini and Smart but doesn't separate out Sprinter. Did Daimler then sell 16,577 Sprinters in the USA in 2011? But the other sites (and Reuters) say that the total for Daimler (Smart and Sprinter included) was 254,460 for all Daimler AG/MBUSA sales. The 254,460 sounds more plausible given the figures for Smart and the normally low sales of Sprinters in the US (mostly ambulances.) You have a figure of 267,016 for all Daimler AG/MBUSA sales. I think your chart and your copy is incorrect for Daimler.

    • See 1 previous
    • Alwaysinthecar Alwaysinthecar on Jan 06, 2012

      @Bertel Schmitt That's a lot of Sprinters. I wonder what pumped it up to 93.7%? Some big fleet contract(?) Reuters has reported a different number than Bloomberg for Mercedes (245,231) which of course isn't much to make any difference but that number is now being utilized by news media who use Reuters' services.

  • Tallnikita Tallnikita on Jan 06, 2012

    yeah, what's up with Sprinter? I personally think they are cool but the price is soo high and read a lot of negative stuff on your site. The drifting video is hilarious!

  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2022&year2=2022&make=Jeep&baseModel=Wrangler&srchtyp=ymm&pageno=1&rowLimit=50Annual fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
  • FreedMike How about the “Aztek” package? Wait, this car already has that…Said it before and I’ll say it again: they need to restyle the hind end on this car, stat.
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