BMW Reigns as China’s Top Luxury Brand in April
While BMW fell behind in other markets, it's catching its second wind in China
Mercedes-Benz may be beating rival BMW in terms of sales in America. However, the story changes when examining one of the fastest growing markets in the automotive world: China.
There, BMW overtook both Mercedes-Benz and Audi to become the top luxury brand in April.
At the end of the month, BMW and MINI sales rose 39%, totaling 48,869 units. Year-to-date, 191,697 BMW vehicles have been sold in China, an overall 18% increase.
Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz also experienced a market growth last month. 47,627 Mercedes vehicles were sold in China during April, a sales growth of 35%.
Meanwhile, Audi, which had previously been top dog in China’s luxury scene, suffered a 6.9% sales decrease. As a result, 46,166 Audi units were sold in April.
This decline is partly due to a conflict between Audi and dealers throughout China. Audi had previously announced plans to launch a new distribution network, an announcement that caused Chinese Audi dealers to stop ordering new vehicles from the German automaker.
Far behind but rapidly growing was Ford’s luxury brand: Lincoln. Ford reported that 4,533 Lincoln vehicles were sold in China last month, a massive 95% sales increase, but still far behind the top three luxury brands in China.
Back stateside, all three German luxury brands managed to outmatch the traditional American luxury lineups. Mercedes-Benz came out on top, with a total of 29,125 units sold last month, an unfortunate 8.5% sales decrease for the brand.
Mercedes rival BMW ended the month with 22,624 units sold, an even more negative 9.3% sales decrease. Audi sales were up, however, with 18,711 units and a sales increase of 7.7%.
Meanwhile, Cadillac, GM’s luxury flagship, experienced a slight sales decline of 1.3%, ending the month with 12,300 units sold. While Lincoln experienced a domestic sales increase of 6%, it still came out on the bottom of the sales list with a mere 9,691 units sold.
While Audi may be behind in the U.S. and China, it’s actually ahead in Europe. Last month, Audi sold more than 67,000 units in Europe, with its year-to-date total coming in at 282,953.
Mercedes has a European year-to-date sales total of 264,554 units. BMW’s year-to-date total in Europe ends up being 261,851 sold units.
Still, BMW is taking full advantage of its good fortune in the Chinese market. The German automaker recently announced plans to double its production capacity in China to 600,000 light vehicles over the span of the next five years.