BMW poised to snatch luxury-sales crown back from Mercedes

BMW delivered 1.7 million of its namesake branded vehicles in the first nine months of the year. PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (BLOOMBERG) - BMW's better handling of the chip shortage has turned the tables on the global luxury sales race, positioning the company to overtake its arch-rival for the first time since 2015.

The carmaker delivered 1.7 million of its namesake branded vehicles in the first nine months of the year, exceeding Daimler's Mercedes-Benz by more than 112,000 cars and sport utility vehicles. BMW extended its lead in the third quarter by limiting its deliveries decline to 10 per cent, whereas Mercedes posted a 30 per cent plunge.

The two German icons are among the carmakers being affected by recent factory shutdowns in Malaysia, a key hub for semiconductor packaging and testing. But BMW managed to hold out longer than most of its peers before having to pause production due to the supply squeeze. Back in January, the company said it placed orders on time for the amount of chips it needed for the year and expected its suppliers to deliver.

The chances Mercedes overtakes its nemesis in the last quarter of the year look slim. Mercedes sounded somewhat more downbeat in its global sales release on Wednesday (Oct 6), warning that semiconductor shortages will likely impact production over the coming months. While BMW similarly said the situation remains difficult, the company expressed confidence it will hit its annual sales targets.

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