The battle between Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW over the past decade to claim the title of the world’s best-selling premium car maker was a compelling one as the trio raced to – and then passed – the two-million-cars-a-year threshold. 

Now the race is over. In 2023, BMW was more than 350,000 sales ahead of Audi and 200,000 ahead of Mercedes-Benz, pushing back towards 2.5 million units. Yet only one of those brands on the podium is likely to be disappointed.

While Audi has fallen behind off the back of the chip shortage and a slow rollout of electric cars, Mercedes has completely changed its business to focus on profitability rather than volume. 

Much of the growth of the past decade was driven by the entry-level A-Class and its seven siblings from the MFA platform.