No luxury automaker sold more cars in the USA in August than BMW but the Blue & White Propeller lost 1.5 percentage points of market share from July. Mercedes-Benz, America’s second-ranked premium brand in August, the seller of SLS AMGs and Sprinter vans, saw its U.S. market share fall from 18.1% in July to 16.8% in August.
Major market share gains were accomplished by Audi (8% to 8.4%), Cadillac (9.7% to 10.9%), Infiniti (6.5% to 7.5%), Lexus (12.7% to 15%), and Volvo (4.3% to 4.9%). If you find it strange that automakers with apparent declining sales can increase their market share, stay with me for a couple more seconds in order to receive an explanation.
This market share comparison looks at August 2011 versus July 2011. Sales declines and sales increases almost universally compare year-over-year numbers, how a brand coped during a period this year versus the same period of last year. After all, the market’s buying season is expected to change from one month to the next – we buy thousands more iPods in November and December than we do in June and July, right? But in comparing one automaker with another, there’s no need to go back a full year for a realistic contrast. They’re on a level playing field. We call it the current playing field.