Mercedes-Benz once again is ready to sit atop the luxury throne due in large part to strong sales of its sport-utility vehicles.

The battle for the annual luxury sales crown appears to have been won by Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, which sold 2.34 million passenger cars in 2019, a 1.3% increased, edging out perennial competitor BMW.

Daimler laid claim to the title gain with its ninth consecutive year of record sales, the company reported Thursday. However, the BMW Group, which includes BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce, outsold Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands.

The Bavarian automaker reported it sold 2.52 million vehicles globally compared with Mercedes-Benz Cars 2.46 million vehicles last year. However, it hasn’t provided a full breakdown yet to determine if Mercedes has indeed retained the luxe title.

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“The ninth consecutive record year underscores once more the strong demand for Mercedes-Benz vehicles, even amidst far-reaching changes in the mobility landscape,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.

“In addition, Mercedes-Benz continues to be clearly the number one in the luxury mark

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et – this proves how valuable our brand is. 2019 was a year of great challenges for the automotive industry. The next two years will also be characterized more than ever by the transformation of our industry. In this challenging environment, we intend to further increase our unit sales and set the course for long-term competitiveness.”

Mercedes-Benz enjoyed record years in its home market of Germany as well as in its largest markets of China and the U.S., driven largely by strong sales of its sport-utility vehicles. Daimler said Mercedes-Benz sales rose 6.2% in China, where overall auto sales were expected to decline again this year.

Other competitors made strong showings this year, including Volkswagen’s premium arm Audi, which saw sales jump 1.8% to 1.84 million cars last year. Again, China played a role in that result with a 4.1% jump in sales including Hong Kong.

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Audi said it sold 19,500 electric e-tron models in Europe last year, Reuters reported, while Daimler declined to provide a figure for how many electric Mercedes-Benz EQC models it delivered to customers.

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