The luxury sales wars are heating up. The three top luxury players are Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Globally, no one else registers on the radar. The aforementioned companies all have their eye on the top spot. BMW has held it since 2005, when Mercedes relinquished its position. Audi, on the other hand, has grown steadily. The three are fiercely competitive, which is good for consumers.
If we had to bet on an eventual leader, we’d probably go with Audi. The vast amount of platform and engine sharing that can be done within the VW Group is a huge factor in their favor. Audi’s leadership is one component of VW’s larger global number one sales goal by 2018. We’ve never seen a company push so relentlessly and openly push to achieve that.
Audi’s goal isn’t to be number one until later in the decade, but they’ve already topped BMW for one month this year. In April the result was 125,200 to BMW’s 121,476. Mercedes was a bit farther behind at 104,344. The good news is that all of these companies saw increased sales, it was just a question of how much. Audi sales grew 14.4 percent, BMW’s 7.4 percent and Mercedes’ 3.6 percent. Audi’s impressive result comes down to very strong growth in the Chinese market, where the A6 and A4 are extremely popular. Sales last month in China were up 44 percent, to 34,221 units.
That makes China Audi’s largest market, followed by Germany at 24,301 and the United States at 11,521. Year-to-date BMW is still in the lead. If this trend continues though Audi may reach its goal sooner than anyone thought. They also have a lot of room for growth in the U.S, as Audi is far behind the leaders here. Mercedes was on top in the U.S last month with 24,302, followed by BMW at 21,062 and Lexus at 17,551. Once the new small cars (Audi A3 Sedan, Mercedes-Benz CSC, etc) from these companies land on our shores, volume will go up significantly. With BMW’s long-time dominance over the entry-level class with the 3-Series, it is going to be interesting to see who comes out on top in this emerging segment.