Audi sells fewer cars than Mercedes in September as competition intensifies
By Andreas Cremer
BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) chalked up its best ever September sales result but was still edged out by Mercedes-Benz in a further sign that the rivalry among Germany's top luxury automakers is intensifying.
Deliveries at Audi, Volkswagen's flagship division, last month rose 6.4 percent to 159,950 cars and sport-utility vehicles, the company said on Thursday.
Mercedes-Benz (DAIGn.DE: Quote) sold 162,746 models, the best-ever month for sales in its 88-year history and a 14 percent gain on year-ago levels, benefiting from the release of new models and surging demand in China.
It was the first time this year that Mercedes-Benz bested Audi in monthly sales.
Audi, which eclipsed Mercedes-Benz in 2011 to become the world's No. 2 premium automaker behind BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote), has seen its overall 2014 sales lead over the Daimler division shrink to 103,494 cars after nine months, compared with 118,110 at the same time a year ago.
While Mercedes-Benz is enjoying strong demand for a spate of redesigned models, including the E-Class and the flagship S-Class saloon, Audi has pushed planned overhauls of its top-selling A4 model and the Q7 SUV into 2015.
"Mercedes will catch up further with BMW and Audi in coming months, they simply got the freshest product line-up," said Frankfurt-based Commerzbank analyst Sascha Gommel.
Still, research firm IHS Automotive does not expect the hierarchy in the three-way German luxury sales contest to change any time soon. Continued...