Mercedes-Benz narrowed the sales gap with larger luxury vehicle rivals BMW and Audi last month as customers sought its top-of-the-line S-Class and upmarket E-Class sedans. Mercedes brand deliveries jumped 14 percent year on year in April, beating Audi’s 12 percent growth and the 7.8 percent gain posted by the BMW marque yesterday. Demand surged 60 percent for the S-Class line and 26 percent for the E-Class. Daimler, the owner of Mercedes, and Volkswagen’s Audi have vowed to take the global sales crown for premium cars from BMW by the end of the decade. The three German manufacturers are forecasting at least a fourth year of record vehicle sales for this year as demand revives in Europe. BMW, which took top place from Mercedes in 2005, plans group sales exceeding 2 million vehicles for the first time this year. Daimler shares were up 1.9 percent at 12.33pm in Frankfurt. BMW gained 0.8 percent and Volkswagen added 0.3 percent. Sales in the US, Mercedes’s biggest market, rose 9.5 percent; Chinese deliveries soared 38 percent.

Mercedes sold almost 133 100 vehicles last month, while four-month sales gained 15 percent to 507 400. – Bloomberg