Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz boosted sales twice as fast as BMW in the first quarter, moving closer to clinching the lead in the world’s luxury-car market for the first time in a decade.

The Daimler AG luxury unit’s deliveries soared 13 percent to 483,487 vehicles through March, compared with a 6 percent increase to 478,743 cars for BMW AG’s namesake brand. Sales of compact cars such as the A-Class increased 26 percent to more than 150,000, Mercedes said. Volkswagen AG’s Audi, the third-biggest luxury brand, is due to report its figures later Tuesday.

Mercedes has declared it wants to overtake BMW by 2020, a goal it’s on course to hit early due to the popularity of all-new models including the GLC sport utility vehicle. Sales momentum will probably accelerate during the second half, with the new E-Class sedan, a bread-and-butter vehicle for the business market, hitting showrooms. BMW has an older product lineup by comparison, with key models including its E-Class equivalent, the 5-Series sedan, not due for a refresh until next year.

Monthly tallies still put BMW ahead of Mercedes for March. BMW delivered 201,352 cars, a gain of 2.9 percent. Mercedes sales climbed 8.4 percent to 198,921 autos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Munich at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Reiter at creiter2@bloomberg.net, Naomi Kresge, Tom Lavell

©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

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