Cliffhanger In Luxuryville: BMW And Merc Count Hanging Chads

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Usually, all automakers in the U.S. market report together on the same day of the month. This time it’s different. The world does not know exactly how many cars Americans bought in December and therefore for the year, because Daimler and BMW had not handed in their numbers.

BMW and Mercedes had been in a year-long battle for the luxury crown, a title that oddly enough only has cachet in the otherwise monarchy-averse U.S.A. where kings are used to measure beds and burgers. With annual sales in the quarter million territory, both players would be Mazda-sized, would it not be for the (sometimes doubtful) “luxury” title.

Toyota had conceded defeat early in the day by reporting a total of 198,552 units for its Lexus brand, which takes the third place on the podium. Both Daimler and BMW must be busy counting hanging chads and calling every dealer in the country to account for stragglers.

Yesterday, editors the world over (yours truly included) had been nervously drumming their desks while they stared at the empty spaces in the Daimler and BMW entries. At 9 pm, Automotive News [sub] gave up waiting, and estimated the sales. AN gives Mercedes a slight edge with 261,573 units sold for the year, BMW were given 247,773 units. Both received a finger-wagging from AN:

“Daimler AG and BMW Group still hadn’t reported December results, as their Mercedes and BMW brands remained locked in a battle to become the best-selling luxury brand in the United States.”

Translation: Don’t hold up the proceedings. Let’s hope they will hand in their homework today.

Join the conversation