Chip shortages cost Mercedes-Benz premium pole position
German carmaker Mercedes-Benz saw for the first time its competitor from Munich, BMW, taking over after five years of holding the pole position worldwide in premium car sales. Apparently, BMW managed the chip shortage crisis better, selling 2,2 million cars worldwide, while Mercedes had to settle with 2 093 476, despite strong demand. Audi comes in third.
“Proudly claiming number one position in the global premium automotive segment for the BMW brand in 2021,” BMW’s head of sales Pieter Nota wrote in a post on LinkedIn last week. Mercedes says the lack of semiconductors delayed the supply of vehicles despite strong demand for passenger cars and vans in all segments and across all regions. It saw a 5% decrease in sales.
Scarce chips allocation
“Mercedes-Benz is making every effort to ensure that surging customer orders can be fulfilled as soon as possible. The date when a customer placed an order is taken into consideration when scarce chips are allocated for vehicle production. The semiconductor supply situation remains volatile, and the shortage is expected to impact the upcoming quarters in terms of production and sales,” the press release states.
Plug-in hybrid and electric passenger cars reached a record 227 458 units (+69.3%), of which 48 936 were Mercedes-EQ battery electric passenger cars (BEV), a growth of +154.8%. Since its launch in August, 16 370 orders came in for the Mercedes-Benz’s electric flagship EQS. But in the large markets of China and the US, the model was only introduced last December.
-11.2% in Europe
In Europe, the German carmaker sold 696 136 cars (-11.2%). In China, the premium brand sold 758 863 vehicles (-2%), and in the North American region, it saw a slight increase to 318 456 units (+0.3%), of which 276 102 in the USA.
In China, the high-end luxury models of Mercedes are pretty fashionable, with deliveries of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class rising by 40% to 87 064 units worldwide, with sales in China accounting for 35.5% of it. Mercedes-Maybach cars are selling in China at a rate of more than 900 a month, despite the 1 215 300 yuan price tag (€168 796).
In the United States, BMW is in pole position, followed closely by Tesla. According to Automotive News Research and Data Center, BMW sold 336 644 cars in the US, Tesla 313 400, Lexus 304 475, Mercedes-Benz 276,102, and Audi 196 038.
In the commercial van sector, Mercedes-Benz scored better with a +2.6% growth year over year to 334 210 units, of which 9 000 electric vans, doubling the number compared to 2020.