Mercedes-Benz poised to become No. 2 luxury automaker?(Read article summary)
Mercedes-Benz has plans to launch new small cars over the next few years in its battle to overtake Audi for second place behind BMW. A new German report suggests Mercedes-Benz can accomplish it by 2015.
Audi has a long-standing goal of becoming the worldâ€™s number one luxury automaker, and for the past few years it looked like the four-ring brand was well on its way to achieving this.
Last year, Audi sold just over 1.3 million vehicles worldwide, beating rival Mercedes-Benz (1.26 million) and closing the gap on BMW (1.38 million sales).Â For Audi, that represented a 19.2-percent gain over the prior year, compared to 12.8-percent for BMW and a modest 8-percent for Mercedes Benz.
Now comes word fromÂ BloombergÂ that Mercedes-Benz may overtake Audi for the number two position in 2015. Forecasts from the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Duisberg-Essen have BMW selling 1.76 million vehicles in 2015, followed by Mercedes Benz (1.68 million) and Audi (1.63 million).
How accurate any long-term forecasts are in the automotive industry is the subject of much debate, but Mercedes-Benz is clearly taking steps to combat sales gains by Audi. Over the next few years, Mercedes-Benz is launching a plethora of new global vehicles, primarily in the small car segment.
Thereâ€™s theÂ new A-Class, aÂ new B-Class, theÂ CLA four door coupeÂ (smaller brother to the CLS 550) and even a new compact crossover called the GLA Class. Priced right, these models have the potential of boosting Mercedes-Benzâ€™s sales above those of AudiÂ in the coming years.
Of course Audi isnâ€™t standing idly by, either. Expect to seeÂ the new Q3 crossoverÂ in the coming months, followed by a newÂ compact crossover dubbed the Q2. Then thereâ€™s the new A3 wagon to consider, which will be followed by anÂ all-new A3 sedan.
It may not be perfectly clear which company will take the sales lead in three years time, but this much is obvious: with so much new product to choose from, luxury car shoppers are the real winners.Â