Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 39.4 percent in December 2012 for a total of 37,399, enough to put BMW ahead of its old and classic competitor: Mercedes-Benz. After last month’s sales results, BMW is crowned for the second consecutive year the number one premium automaker in the United States.

An impressive boost came from the 5 Series sedan model which grew 72 percent in December. Mercedes reported a 9.5 percent increase as well helped by the full-size E-Class sedan which rose 32 percent.

Through November, Mercedes held the lead with 1,849 vehicles sold more than BMW, but at the end of the year, the Bavarians finished with 281,460 vehicles sold, topping Mercedes-Benz by 7,326 units (274,134).

BMW overtakes Mercedes for U.S. luxury sales in 2012

“The post-recession sales momentum that started in 2010 reached an unprecedented level in December, making us strongly confident and optimistic as we enter 2013,” Ludwig Willisch, chief executive officer of BMW of North America, said in a statement for BusinessWeek.

Compared to last year, BMW sales rose 14 percent for 2012 while Mercedes’ sales increased 12 percent. Lexus finished third with 244,166 vehicles, 23 percent gain from previous year.

By Horatiu Boeriu. Read Bio