If you’ve been following Automotive.com’s European sales reports at the start of every month, you will have noticed sales of German autos have been scorching here in the U.S. Audi and Mercedes-Benz have been setting new records every month it seems, and Mercedes-Benz’s top rival— BMW—while doing very well, may have gotten a little too competitive. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, BMW offered a huge incentive, as much as $7,000 to be exact, for any 2012 model reported as purchased on July 31st, to be included in July sales numbers. However, the Journal reports that many of the vehicles were purchased by dealers as “demo cars,” and it’s unclear how many are still on dealer lots, and have yet to be actually purchased by customers.
While dealer incentives ahead of a new model year are relatively old-hat, such a large discount available on any model, while simultaneously taking part in a contentious battle for top-German-dog with Mercedes-Benz, seems to raise a few eyebrows. The WSJ points out that in the ’90s, Cadillac employed a similar tactic to steal the American luxury lead from Lincoln (how times have changed).
BMW did manage to sell nearly 2000 more cars than Mercedes-Benz—big incentives and all—but Mercedes still retains the sales volume lead on the year, with 159,391 vehicles sold versus 147,801 for BMW. With a slew of new and refreshed models on the way for both automakers, the rivalry doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon.