Pop the corks. BMW has beaten Mercedes (and Lexus) to hold onto the luxury sales crown in the US. However the Mercedes brand has outsold the BMW brand if you take away the aid of MINI and Rolls. Nevertheless the total BMW Group sales beat-out Mercedes total sales by 346 vehicles – the second year in a row the sales race came down to the wire. In fact Mercedes had led BMW throughout the last part of 2012 and looked to finally take the crown from BMW. While the results certainly owe a lot to the solid product dealers have on the lots, BMW and MINI’s recent incentives certainly didn’t hurt things. Full figures after the break.

Official Release: MINI USA reported the best December ever with sales of 6,456 automobiles, an increase of 13.0 percent from the 5,711 sold in December, 2011. This marks the seventh consecutive month of record sales and ninth “best month” of 2012. For the year, MINI sales in the U.S. are up 15.0 percent on volume of 66,123 compared to 57,511 sold in 2011, making 2012 the brand’s best year ever in the U.S.

“We like to say the world is becoming more MINI and the record 2012 sales is the perfect conclusion to our 10th anniversary year in the U.S.,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President, MINI USA. “We are a quick and agile brand with an expanding vehicle portfolio, a growing dealer network and a great year ahead.”

Sales for BMW increased to 37,399 vehicles last month, boosted by a 72 percent gain for its midsize 5 series. Mercedes reported a 9.5 percent increase from a year earlier to 28,145, helped by sales of the E-class sedan, which rose 32 percent to 6,984. Lexus rose 21 percent to 30,607.

December’s sales drive pushed BMW past the 1,849 unit lead Mercedes, held through November. BMW finished 2012 with a total of 281,460 sales and bested 2011?s runner up for king of the luxury market Mercedes-Benz by 7,326.

BMW’s U.S. sales rose 14 percent for 2012. Mercedes’s 2012 U.S. sales rose 12 percent to 274,134 excluding Sprinter cargo vans. Last year BMW topped Mercedes in the United States by 2,715 vehicles. Sales tallies do not include Sprinter Vans, Smart (Daimler) or MINI as they are not classified in the luxury segment and are not under the respective brand names although under the parent company.