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Global Auto Report

By Detroit News staff reports, Bloomberg News and wire services

FRANKFURT -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the No. 2 luxury carmaker, last month replaced DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes with the best-selling models in two segments of Germany's car market.

BMW's 3-Series replaced the Mercedes C-Class among midsize cars, the KBA, the government agency which registers cars, said in a faxed statement.

Car sales in Germany, Europe's largest market, have declined 1.1 percent so far this year, the fourth year in a row of falling sales. Carmakers have increased low-interest loans and offers of free equipment to lure customers.

"Gaining market share in a falling market matters," said Christoph Stuermer, an analyst at Global Insight, an automotive consultancy. "You have to push other people out to be successful. It's worth a lot of money."

Among sport-utility vehicles, the Mercedes M-Class, built in Tuscaloosa Alabama, overtook Toyota Motor Co.p.'s RAV 4, with 11.7 percent of the segment.

All other segments retained their leaders from the previous month. The Mercedes E-Class dominated the upper-middle class with 39 percent of the segment. Mercedes also led the upper class with S-Class model.

BMW names new managers to 3 brands

-- BMW AG, moving to strengthen marketing efforts, named new managers to each of its three brands -- BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce, effective Jan. 1, 2004.

Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes will take over responsibility for the BMW brand, Kay Segler for the MINI brand and Howard Mosher for the Rolls-Royce brand, the German automaker said. They will report to Michael Ganal, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for sales and marketing.
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