Mercedes-Benz Overtakes BMW As Largest Premium Carmaker

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In the same period last year (January to December 2015), the brand sold 13,502 units in the country, thus crossing the 13,000 mark in annual sales for two years in a row. Of course, the slight drop in sales can be attributed to the various factors. "We have remained successful in retaining customer trust amidst challenges like the diesel ban for eight months in key Delhi NCR market, high Excise duty, rising prices and demonetisation effect in 2016", company's Managing Director & Chief Executive Roland Folger said. The company, which edged past Audi in 2015 to regain the top premium position, was originally targeting a double-digit growth in 2016, but the diesel ban upset calculations.

The Munich-based manufacturer sold 80 000 fewer cars in 2016 than the Daimler AG brand, which drew younger buyers with sporty redesigns and a bigger array of increasingly popular SUVs.

He further elaborated, "2016 was a challenging year but our sales achievement makes us bullish for 2017 and gives us confidence for the mid- to long-term growth prospect of the market". The luxury carmaker sold 7500 BMWs and 361 Minis to bring the total to 7861 cars for the year 2016.

Frank Schloeder, president (act), BMW Group India, said, "The year 2016 was not an easy year for the automotive industry and that applies equally to BMW Group India".

Meanwhile BMW said it sold just over 2.0 million vehicles under its flagship brand in 2016, also a new record.

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The Germany automakers cars were seemingly not as well received in the United States - a market which is notorious for the love of their own local vehicles - where the group's auto sales grew marginally at 0,8%.

2016 saw the automaker leave no stone unturned having announced 13 auto launches through 12 months.

The Munich-based firm notched up growth of 5.2 percent over 2015's result, but couldn't hold Mercedes off the top of the sales podium. Volvo also updated most of its other cars past year including the V40 hatchback and V40 Cross Country.

Mercedes had achieved its best year ever by sales for the sixth time in a row, he added. Audi had already said it sold "only" 1.87 million units past year, while BMW's annual sales figures haven't been published yet.

Zetsche has presided over a renaissance in the design and technology of Mercedes vehicles, refocused the company on technological excellence and autonomous driving instead of short-term sales goals, and adapted the entrepreneurial mindset of Silicon Valley to the traditionally risk averse culture of Stuttgart.

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