LUXURY: Mercedes-Benz wins November, cutting into BMW’s lead

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Paced by booming sales of its crossovers, Mercedes-Benz topped BMW in the November U.S. luxury brand race and narrowed the gap with its German rival for the 2019 title with just one month to go. Lexus posted a strong month as well, maintaining its grasp on third place.

All three luxury brands are now in positive territory for the year. BMW leads Mercedes by only 3,280 vehicles after 11 months, setting up a December showdown for the year’s luxury-brand champion. BMW last year ended a three-year title run by Mercedes

Mercedes said November sales gained 8.7 percent to 33,721 deliveries while year-to-date results moved up 0.7 percent to 285,800 units. GLE crossover sales surged 52 percent to 6,052, while the GLC jumped 21 percent to 7,515 units. G-class SUV sales soared 70 percent to 1,309 units. Most Mercedes-Benz sedans plummeted, with the C-class slipping 23 percent to 4,469 deliveries.

“November was a solid month for Mercedes-Benz thanks to the enthusiastic response to our refreshed SUV lineup,” CEO Nicholas Speeks said in a statement. “Along with the impetus from our model offensive, we moved ahead on a year-to-date basis and are looking to continue that momentum through the end of the year.”

BMW’s November sales improved 10 percent to 31,213 units, lifting the year-to-date gain to 4.5 percent. The new X7 crossover generated 2,614 deliveries during the month and 18,415 for the year, accounting for almost half of the brand’s 2019 light-truck increase. X3 crossover sales rose 9.1 percent in November to 5,948.

Lexus parent Toyota said its luxury brand’s sales gained 14 percent during the month to 30,093 units. Its year-to-date sales now stand at 262,789 — three vehicles ahead of last year.

The luxury-brand rankings do not include BMW’s Mini or Mercedes-Benz van sales.