In 2013, Daimler's (NASDAQOTH:DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz finally stole title of best-selling luxury brand in the U.S from BMW (NASDAQOTH:BAMXF). Unfortunately, that was just for the U.S. market; globally, BMW is still winning. But, with the upcoming release of its all-new GLA, and taking into account the strong sales of the CLA, could 2014 be the best year Mercedes has ever seen?
Mercedes' sales surge
In 2013, Mercedes reported record global sales, and 2014 doesn't show any signs of that pace slowing. In January, Mercedes once again broke its January sales record by delivering 109,477 vehicles -- an increase of 15.4%. Also in January, sales of Mercedes' compact car segment -- which includes the A-, B-, and CLA (the only model available in the U.S.) -- increased 32.1%.
Even better? In China -- one of the fastest-growing luxury car markets -- Mercedes' saw a whopping 44.9% sales increase. That's more than double BMW's China sales increase of 22%. Further, Bloomberg reports that interest in Mercedes' compact segment is so high, Mercedes' hasn't been able to produce enough compact vehicles to meet demand -- not exactly the worst problem to have.
What this points to
These sales show that the start of the 2014 sales year is even better than that of 2013 for the company. Considering that 2013 was a record-breaking year for Mercedes, and it didn't release the CLA for sale in the U.S until September 2013, the continued strength at the beginning of the year could point to 2014 being fantastic for Mercedes.
This could also be helped by the fact that this year, Mercedes is releasing its highly anticipated GLA -- it will go on sale in the U.S in fall 2014 -- which is an entry-level, compact SUV that'll compete with BMW's incredibly popular X1. Plus, Bloomberg reports, "Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche is rolling out 30 new vehicles by the end of the decade, 13 of which will have no predecessor, in an effort to regain the sales advantage Mercedes lost to BMW in 2005 and Audi in 2011."
What to watch
The above is just a small offering of what Mercedes offers investors. More importantly, the fact that Mercedes is showing such strong sales globally is great news for long-term investors. While it's too early to accurately predict another record-breaking year for the company, its strong start to 2014 and upcoming model releases are good signs of things to come. Consequently, if you're looking for your next great auto stock, you might want to give Mercedes a closer look.
Katie Spence has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BMW. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.