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BMW regains world luxury car lead from Audi as Mercedes falls back
(Bloomberg) -- BMW regained the top spot in global luxury auto sales from Audi last month on demand for the 3 series and X1 SUV, while the Mercedes-Benz brand fell further behind its German rivals.

Deliveries at the BMW brand, the world's biggest luxury carmaker since 2005, rose 7 percent in February, beating the 3.2 percent gain posted by Volkswagen's Audi. BMW's bigger increase helped propel it back into the sales lead for the year, with the automaker delivering 407 more cars than Audi in the first two months.

Mercedes slipped deeper into third place, delivering 37,229 vehicles fewer than BMW through February, after sales at the Stuttgart-based carmaker dropped 5.8 percent last month. The automaker is bringing new models to market in the coming months that it says will help boost deliveries.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said in Geneva this week that the carmaker's factories are running at full capacity to keep up with customer demand. Sales of the X1 SUV through February gained 40 percent, while the 3 series climbed 26 percent. Audi's gains were led by demand for the A1 small car and Q3 compact SUV.

"In February the BMW Group achieved another healthy increase in sales and we intend to continue the positive development with exciting new models throughout the year," Ian Robertson, BMW sales chief, said in a statement on Friday.

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