Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG (W222) 2013

Mercedes-Benz is top of the premium brand tree in the USA for the first time since 1999, after it beat BMW to the line in 2013, Automotive News Europe reports.

To make it sweeter, Merc’s 2013 sales performance beat its own record. The total of 312,528 units sold is 14% higher than 2012’s figure. Stuttgart sold 3,248 units more than its Munich archrival, which ended 2013 strong thanks to year-end promos – after 11 months, BMW had been 7,610 units behind Mercedes.

The three-pointed star’s stellar performance is attributed to fresh products, said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. In 2013, Mercedes launched the CLA (baby CLS, A-Class platform) and the new-generation W222 S-Class flagship, plus the facelifted W212 E-Class. Cannon pointed out that improved customer service, the result of a major effort Mercedes undertook with its dealers last year, also contributed.

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Last year, M-B USA sold 14,113 CLAs, which are now in short supply due to high demand. Cannon revealed that the CLA generated traffic in showrooms, and many who didn’t manage to get the curvy sedan ended up buying a W204 C-Class, which is set to be replaced by a new-gen W205 soon. CLA aside, the S-Class and E-Class outsold the 7- and 5-Series from BMW.

It may have been beaten to the top spot, but 2013 was far from a disappointment for BMW. Its US division sold a record 309,280 units (up 10%), breaking a previous 2007 high. BMW was the top luxury carmaker in the US in 2011 and 2012. Before that, Lexus reigned for 11 consecutive years. The Japanese brand saw a 12% increase in 2013 to post 273,847 units, good for third place.

Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW North America, is predicting another record year ahead, with new models such as the 2-Series Coupe and Convertible, i3 electric car and X4 crossover on the way.