In a spin over sales

BMW is burn­ing rub­ber over fig­ures that crowned Mercedes, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE world’s favourite pres­tige car brand is call­ing for a swab of last year’s Aus­tralian sales re­sults.

BMW says it was the show­room leader last year, de­spite of­fi­cial in­dus­try fig­ures giv­ing the crown to Mercedes-Benz.

BMW points to world­wide sales fig­ures, pro­vided in an in­dus­try swap be­tween the two Ger­man brands, that con­tra­dict the lo­cal re­sults and, it says, point to the ac­tual num­ber of re­tail de­liv­er­ies to new own­ers.

‘‘If you look at the reg­is­tra­tions, we ac­tu­ally beat Mercedes by about 200 units,’’ Ian Robert­son, BMW’s global head of mar­ket­ing, said.

‘‘These are the ones that come from Mercedes. We ex­change data.’’

Aus­tralia’s of­fi­cial Vfacts fig­ures give the sales crown for 2010 to Mercedes-Benz by a mar­gin of 18,464 to 17,993, but Robert­son has fig­ures that say the re­sult is 17,876 to 17,445 in favour of BMW.

‘‘That (Vfacts) is reg­is­tra­tion data. This is re­tail data, so this is what Mercedes ac­tu­ally sold. These are in the hands of cus­tomers,’’ Robert­son ex­plained.

BMWAus­tralia is stay­ing out of the fight, but Robert­son’s ac­cu­sa­tion has an­gered Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia man­age­ment, which says it is happy to ac­cept the of­fi­cial rul­ing by Vfacts.

‘‘We stand by the ref­eree’s de­ci­sion. With Vfacts there is a set of cri­te­ria that ev­ery­one com­plies with,’’ says Horst von San­den, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia. ‘‘And VFacts is au­dited.’’

Of Robert­son’s claim, he said: ‘‘I’m a bit sur­prised. Some peo­ple are happy one year to use Vfacts num­bers and then want to use some­thing dif­fer­ent. In a long-term view, it’s best if the in­dus­try sticks to the same fig­ures.’’

Last year’s to­tals from Vfacts also show Benz scored in­di­vid­ual class vic­to­ries with its C and E-Class mod­els, the B-Class had its best year in Aus­tralia and the De­cem­ber to­tal was a com­pany record.

The 2010 to­tal of 18,464 was up by 24.4 per cent — Benz’s best show­room to­tal since it set up in Aus­tralia, 52 years ago.

Pride on show: theBMW6 se­ries Cabri­o­let at the Euro­pean Mo­tor­show in Brus­sels Expo this month.

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