BMW regains lead as top luxury car

BMW has overtaken Mercedes-Benz as the most popular luxury passenger car so far this year.

BMW has overtaken Mercedes-Benz to take the lead as the most popular luxury passenger car so far this year in New Zealand.

Figures from the Motor Industry Association (MIA) show BMW has sold more units in the first two months of 2016 than its fellow German automakers Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

It sold 393 passenger cars last month, compared to Mercedes-Benz’s 308 and Audi’s 274.

The carmaker is also the only one of the trio that has increased its unit sales over this time last year.

The new data reveals last month was the strongest February on record for new car sales, overtaking the previous record of February 1984, with 10,313 new registrations.

“Strong net immigration, a healthy tourism sector and competitive market are helping to drive new vehicle sales which are already 3% ahead of this time last year,” Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford says.

Mr Crawford previously predicted that 2016’s numbers would be down on 2015’s, as the New Zealand dollar dropped driving prices up. There was also uncertainty in world markets, given concerns in China and the Middle East, that would hurt the sale of luxury cars.

But he now says his predictions may prove inaccurate.

“The anticipated slowdown in new vehicle registrations has yet to materialise as businesses and consumers continued to purchase new vehicles at unprecedented rates in February,” he says.

Mercedes-Benz was the highest-selling luxury car in 2015 for the first time in nearly 10 years, as BMW sales fell 8% on the previous year, according to the MIA.

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