Mercedes-Benz posted a 5 percent drop in sales last year, falling behind rival German car manufacturer BMW for the first time in six years, according to new sales statistics published on Friday.
Mercedes-Benz sold 2.05 million cars last year compared to the 2.2 million units sold by the BMW Group, with Mercedes’ annual sales in Europe falling by 11 percent, including 25.5 percent in Germany. In China, its most important market, Mercedes sales also fell by 2 percent, however the company was able to achieve modest growth in the United States and North America in general.
Mercedes-Benz took the lead from BMW in the sales rankings of German premium brands in 2016.
In a statement, the manufacturer attributed the decline in sales to the lack of semiconductor circuits and other electronic components available, especially in the final quarter of the year. Mercedes-Benz sold 464,000 cars in October through December, a quarter less than for the same period a year earlier.
Mercedes-Benz has integrated scarce semiconductor and electronic components primarily into high-profit premium models. Partly due to this, sales of luxury models and electric models rose to record levels. For example, the company sold 99,000 fully electric cars last year, 90 percent more than a year earlier. According to the manufacturer, due to the downturn in the supply of parts, the situation remains precarious and may affect both production and sales volumes in the future.