By Drew Johnson
Thursday, Nov 1st, 2012 @ 3:58 pm
 

With just two months left in the 2012 selling season, Mercedes-Benz is looking to keep its sales lead over BMW in the United States with as much as $5,000 in discounts for "VIP customers."

According to a memo to dealers obtained by Bloomberg, Mercedes-Benz is offering cash back on several of its 2012 models in order to help maintain its 5,221 unit sales lead over BMW. The incentive program offers as much as $750 off the Mercedes C-Class, $2,250 off the E-Class, $3,000 for GLK-Class SUVs, $3,275 for the flagship S-Class and $5,000 for GL-Class SUVs. The memo states that the deal "can be offered at the discretion of the dealership's general manager to VIP customers of the dealership, business associates of the dealership's employees and dealership employees' extended family members."

In addition to the discounts, Mercedes is also offering current owners the opportunity to skip as many as five monthly payments.

BMW announced a similar program last month. The Munich-based automaker is allowing current lessees to forgo as many as three payments if they turn in their vehicle for a new BMW model.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been duking it out for most of the year after BMW knocked off Lexus to become the U.S.' best-selling luxury brand in 2011. Although Mercedes trails BMW by just 5,000 cars in the U.S., the gap is much wider globally where BMW holds a 145,000 unit advantage through the first nine months of the year.