BMW has passed Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. for the first time since 2015 after not only blowing out its rival in the fourth quarter, but also bucking an ugly U.S. auto sales trend that we highlighted just days ago, where most manufacturers saw sales collapse to end 2019.
BMW sold 35,746 cars and SUVs in the month of December, finishing the year ahead of Mercedes by more than 8.700 units. The company’s revival in the U.S. can be attributed to filling out its SUV lineup with its massive X7 – after keeping dealers and customers waiting for the vehicle for nearly a decade, according to BNN.
Mercedes, on the other hand, faced challenges with supplier bottlenecks at its lone U.S. assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was only able to sell 316,094 vehicles in 2019 – just 135 more than the year prior, according to Bloomberg.
But it may not be a clean victory for BMW after all…
The SEC is continuing an investigation into BMW’s sales practices, as we reported on just weeks ago. The SEC is lookaing at whether BMW’s sales figures have been manipulated and whether or not the automaker has engaged in “sales punching”, a practice that encourages dealers to register cars despite them not being sold.
Meanwhile, we pointed out days ago that other auto manufacturers had an atrocious end to the year in terms of U.S. sales.
Fiat Chrysler sales for Q4 fell 2% despite “robust” demand for the company’s Ram pickup trucks. GM deliveries fell 6% in the quarter and Toyota saw sales fall 6.1% in December, handily missing estimates for a 0.8% gain.
And Toyota wasn’t the only automaker that missed estimates in grand fashion: Honda was also expected to report a modest gain in sales, but posted an ugly 12% drop in sales for the quarter.
Expectations were lower for Nissan, who was expected to post a drop of 22.1% but missed even those pessimistic expectations by posting a monster 29.5% loss for the quarter.