BMW is still the world's number one premium brand but not by much. Audi sales have come very close to matching BMW's for the first quarter of this year - coming in only 1,709 units behind the Bavarian brand's.

BMW had a global sale count of 265,809 units for the quarter (January to March) while for Audi the number was 264,100. BMW sales were buoyed by demand for the new X1 model. Both automakers were helped by resurgent markets, particularly the US, where overall auto sales rose 16 percent over the same period last year.

Audi is sticking to its goal of becoming the world's top-selling premium brand by 2015 with 1.5 million unit sales per year. Audi surpassed Mercedes-Benz sales for the first time this quarter too, making Mercedes the number three premium brand globally.

But Mercedes-Benz also saw a bountiful sales increase of 26 percent for the first quarter in the US, making it the number one premium brand (ahead of Lexus) in the world's largest single car market.


Gallery: BMW still top premium brand despite Audi's recent surge

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