1. Sales
1. Sales
Onrushing BMW (and Audi) is chipping away at Mercedes' share of the premium market. According to IHS Automotive, M-B now commands 21.4%, down from 25% in 2001. BMW used to promise sales of two million vehicles by 2020 but is running so hot that it moved the target date sooner to 2016, and its 3-series is the top-selling luxury car in the world. Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche has vowed Mercedes will more than double sales by 2020 and pass BMW, but analysts are -- to put it politely -- skeptical.

Advantage: BMW

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated July 12 2012: 9:17 AM ET
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