Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been rivals for more than 100 years. Mercedes finished 2017 with car sales of 375,311 – just ahead of BMW’s sales of 352,790 – making it the best-selling luxury/premium brand for the second year in a row. In May of 2018, Mercedes’ brand value surpassed that of its rival.
Both Mercedes and BMW made frequent appearances on our list of the most popular luxury auto brands in 15 US cities. That made us wonder which brand is most popular with US consumers in each state. We used pseudonymous mobile location data from September 2017 to September 2018 to measure foot traffic at Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships in states across the US to find out.
Here’s what we learned:
Mercedes makes its strongest showing in states up and down the East Coast, like Maine, New York, Virginia and Florida. Residents of the northwest, in states like Oregon, Montana and North Dakota also put Mercedes at the top of their visit list.
Fans of BMW can be found throughout the Midwest – everywhere from to Wisconsin to Texas and (nearly) everywhere in between. BMW is also the favorite among residents of California and Washington state, and of mid-atlantic states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
WHO’S THE BIG WINNER OUT OF THESE TWO LUXURY AUTOMOTIVE BRANDS?
BMW – sort of.
BMW is the most visited of the two brands in 33 states – twice as many as Mercedes, which saw more foot traffic in just 15 states. (For Vermont, where both brands are sold by the same dealer, and Wyoming, where neither has a dealer in the state, we called it a tie.)
IF TOTAL FOOT TRAFFIC IS HIGHER AT BMW DEALERSHIPS, WHY DOES MERCEDES LEAD IN SALES?
Dealership foot traffic directly correlates with new car sales – so Mercedes is clearly doing something very, very right. Even though their total foot traffic across all US dealerships is lower than that of BMW – Mercedes has clearly captured consumers’ attention in the markets that drive luxury car sales and doing a much better job of turning the folks that do visit their dealerships into owners.
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