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BMW posts 20% sales gain, outpacing Audi, Mercedes
BMW, the world's largest maker of luxury cars, outpaced sales growth at competitors Audi and Mercedes-Benz last month as the revamped 5-Series sedan and new X1 sport utility vehicle attracted buyers.

Deliveries of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce models rose 20 percent from a year earlier to 129,014 vehicles in November, the Munich-based automaker said today in a statement. Sales by Volkswagen AG's Audi division increased 5.2 percent to 87,050 vehicles, the Ingolstadt, Germany-based unit said today. Deliveries by Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz Cars, including the Smart city-car brand, jumped 14 percent to 112,300.

"BMW is well on its way to reaching its target of more than 1.4 million units this year," Ian Robertson, BMW's sales chief, said in the statement. "We are outperforming the market and were able to expand our market share worldwide once again."

Growth in China and a rebound in the U.S. are propelling a recovery in luxury-car demand following the global recession. The 5-Series, X1 and new Mini Countryman have given BMW extra momentum. The November sales increase, BMW's biggest monthly gain this year, lifted 11-month deliveries to 1.32 million vehicles, a gain of 14 percent.

Audi beats record
Audi said its deliveries in the 11 months through November surpassed the full-year sales record set in 2008, with more than 1 million vehicles sold. The pace of growth slowed last month after "super" performance a year earlier, when the manufacturer received a boost from the German government's car- scrapping sales incentives, said Esther Bahne, a spokeswoman.

The VW unit, which aims to overtake BMW as the luxury-auto sales leader by 2015, would have reported a decline in deliveries last month without the roughly 7,500 A1 cars that customers bought in November, Bahne said. The subcompact was introduced in September.

BMW's revamp of the 5-Series boosted deliveries of the sedan by 87 percent to 20,702 cars. BMW sold 9,160 X1s, topping 100,000 deliveries for the SUV since it was introduced in October 2009. The Mini brand sold 4,165 units of the Countryman, which went on sale in September as the division's first four- door model. The model accounted for 20 percent of Mini sales last month, BMW said.

The BMW brand defended its lead this year with 11-month sales rising 15 percent to 1.11 million vehicles. Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand increased sales 16 percent to 1.06 million vehicles in the period, while Audi deliveries climbed 15 percent to 1,003,900 cars and SUVs.

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