Big, mainstream automotive manufacturers such as Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Volkswagen continued to market the hottest new versions worldwide in 2015. As it came to luxury prestige brands, vehicles from Germany’s Big Three; Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, dominated the sales charts. For the fifth year in a row, the BMW brand sold the many luxury cars and trucks around Earth in 2015. And with Mercedes-Benz nudging third-place Audi for moment, it is no surprise versions from those three automakers filled up our list of the top 10 best-selling luxury vehicles on the planet for 2015:
10 Position: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (118,618 sold)
(2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4Matic Coupe)
With earnings up overall 13.4 percent in comparison to 2014, Mercedes-Benz marketed 1,803,250 new vehicles worldwide last year. The brand’s third-best seller was the streamlined CLA “four-door coupe” with leather car seats. With over 118,000 bought in 2015, earnings of the CLA were up with a substantial 29 percent. In Canada, sales were virtually flat, with only a 0.5 percent profit to 3,870 units sold. For 2016, CLA pricing begins at $35,300 and can go as large as $51,800 for the top-of-the-line 375-horsepower AMG model.
9th Position: BMW 4 Series (134,061 sold)
(2015 BMW M4)
BMW sold the most luxury vehicles in the world this past year, with sales up 5.2 percent to 1,905,234 units in 2015. No surprise then, to see out five of the 10 vehicles on our list from the German automaker. The first is that the 4 Series, the “coupe” family derived from BMW’s top-selling 3 Series compact sedan with added 4wd accessories if needed; 2015 was its first full year available, which clarifies why the 4 Series’ 98.6 percent sales jump over 2014. Priced between $49,450 and $85,500 for the M4 Cabriolet, 4 Series sales last year grew by 43 percent in Canada, to nearly 5,000 copies sold.
8th Position: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (147,006 sold)
(2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class)
Even though it shares the exact compact front- or all-wheel drive platform as the B-, CLA- and GLA-Courses, Mercedes-Benz doesn’t market its own A-Class four-door hatchback in Canada; but possibly the German automaker should. First seen in 1997, the present third-generation A-Class is more traditional than its taller predecessors, and has become a popular model for the German automaker worldwide.
7th Position: BMW 1 Series (163,721 sold)
BMW world show of the 1 Series five-door in the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor show. Just to be clear, the current BMW 1 Series is the streamlined, rear-wheel-drive hatchback that has been offered in overseas markets since 2004. We Canadians got the 1 Series coupe and convertible versions, renamed the two Series for 2014 (not to be confused with the BMW 2 Series Active/Gran Tourer four-door hatchbacks, depending on the Mini platform, also not sold here).
6th Position: BMW X5 (177,417 sold)
One BMW model we Canadians have managed to purchase because it went on sale in 1999 has become the X5, the German automaker’s popular midsize SUV. The only utility vehicle to make this record, the X5 has been the most popular luxury SUV on Earth in 2015. Over 177,000 copies of this third-generation X5 were sold — a substantial 22.6 percent gain over 2014. Base 2016 X5 models begin at $66,300 and climb to the 567-horsepower $106,900 X5 M. Unlike the gains made globally, X5 sales were relatively flat this past year in Canada, with a 1.6 percent drop to only 5,381 units sold. Ironman 4×4 roofracks are perfect for this car if you like road trips.
5th Position: Audi A4 (180,063 sold)
Audi’s global sales grew by 3.6 percent last year to a total of 1,803,250 new vehicles. An all-new fifth-generation A4 sedan started its worldwide roll-out last June. Due to the model move, A4 earnings were down globally by 4.3 percent, to just a little over 180,000 units sold. In Canada, where 2016 A4 prices vary between $43,200 and $56,090, sales were also down in 2015 by 6.7 percent, to just over 5,400 copies sold.
4th Position: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (208,604 sold)
On sale since 1993, the midsize Mercedes-Benz four-door remained a favorite model globally in 2015. First seen at this year’s Detroit auto show, international sales of the ‘Benz sedan were down 14.6 percent to over 208,000 units sold in 2015. E-Class earnings in Canada last year were also down, by 16.5 percent, to over 3,100 units.
3rd Place: BMW 3 Series (304,316 sold)
The sixth-generation BMW 3 Series now comes only as a four-door. In Canada, where the 3 Series can be obtained for as little as $39,990 and as much as $75,000 for the 425-horsepower M3 Sedan, sales were down 4.9 percent, to 9,590 units sold.
2nd Place: Audi A3 (353,572 sold)
(2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet)
In the world’s first premium compact in 1996, the Audi A3 is now the German automaker’s bestseller worldwide and the next most popular luxury vehicle on the planet. This past year, A3 earnings grew by 19.5 percent over 2014, to over 353,00 copies sold. With over 3,700 sold in Canada (where it could be had as a sedan, convertible or plug-in hybrid for between $31,600 and $45,400), A3 earnings were even more impressive — a leap of 54.5 percent compared to 2014.
1st Position: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (364,668 sold)
(2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class)
The world’s bestselling luxury vehicle in 2015 was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The world’s most-popular luxury vehicle was also number one in Canada last year; with prices beginning at $43,800 to the 503-horsepower $83,700 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, C-Class sales saw a leap of 41.7 percent annually to 9,992 copies sold.