Its main competitors: Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Who else?
To say that luxury cars are insanely popular in China would be an understatement. Question is, which of the major luxury brands is dominate in the world’s fastest-growing automotive market? According to Automotive News, that would be BMW, at least for 2017. This past November, BMW’s sales increased by 12 percent to 55,293 vehicles. During that same time frame, Audi’s sales increased by 6.5 percent to 56,208 vehicles, and Mercedes-Benz’s by 22 percent to 50,813.
Yes, Audi did outsell its fellow German brand in November, but it still hasn’t recovered from lost sales earlier in the year when Chinese dealers were boycotting the brand. Why the boycott? Because Audi was making plans to launch a second distribution channel which would have directly hurt profit for its already established Chinese dealerships. Because of that boycott, Audi cancelled the plan last May, but it annual sales figures were negatively affected as a result. As for BMW, in the first 11 months of 2017, its Chinese market sales were up by 15 percent to 542,362 units. By contrast, Audi’s are down by 2.1 percent to 528,706. Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, is likely set to beat Audi for the number two slot in 2017.
Its sales increased by 27 percent to 539,728 units. Previously, Mercedes-Benz was the number three luxury brand in China, a slot that’ll now likely go to Audi. But BMW is the clear 2017 sales winner, a title it very much wants to keep going forward. It’s already discussing a possible joint venture to build Minis with China’s Great Wall Motor, and it’s also planning to launch a car-sharing program featuring the all-electric i3.