Audi’s A3 compact sedan and Mercedes-Benz’s top-of-the-line S-class model helped the German companies narrow the sales gap with global luxury-car leader BMW in the first half of 2014.
Six-month auto sales by BMW’s namesake brand exceeded Audi’s deliveries by 16,997 vehicles compared with a difference of 23,760 a year earlier, according to figures released by the manufacturers this week. BMW’s lead against Mercedes shrank 6 percent to 102,827 cars. All three automakers posted record deliveries for the period.
Audi has been renewing its A3 lineup since early 2013, and No. 3 Mercedes has been offering a wider range of compacts in addition to the new S-class version brought out a year ago. Both are pushing to overtake BMW in premium-auto sales by the end of the decade. BMW has responded with the 2-series and 4-series coupes and X4 SUV and is rolling out the plug-in i8, its first sports car in more than three decades.