Mercedes-Benz recently said it posted its best January sales to date, but the joy was short lived. Volkswagen AG’s premium division Audi managed to outshine the rival’s performance last month on rising demand from China and the United States.
While China – the world’s largest auto market has been under Audi dominance for quite some time, the strong performances in the United States cast a new light on the luxury unit, which has moved last year from the fifth to the fourth position in the biggest market for premium cars. Audi announced that its January deliveries soared by almost 10 percent to record sales – 137,700 cars and sport-utility vehicles – aided by double-digit increases in both China and the US and the company’s home market of Germany. Audi’s largest single market – China – has not shown its weak side yet, with deliveries growing by 15 percent. Also, in Europe, the division managed a positive performance, up 4.7% from the same period last year even as Russian deliveries plummeted by 13 percent.
Audi sales chief Luca de Meo believes last month’s performance is a solid foundation to build strong volumes in 2015. “We have made a good start to the year although global economic uncertainties remain considerable,” he commented. Mercedes said late last Friday it also achieved record January sales, with 125,865 units delivered, a 14 percent increase over last year’s performance. Meanwhile, forecaster IHS Automotive predicts Audi’s lead over Mercedes could expand by 2020 to 178,000 autos from 136,000 cars in 2014.