China may overtake Germany as world’s largest luxury car market this year image

China may overtake Germany to claim second spot in the ranking of the world’s largest luxury car markets this year.

Currently, the world’s largest market for luxury cars is the United States, followed by Germany. But increasing demand for BMW and Audi cars in China could drive sales in the Asian country this year over those in Germany.

2011 may see 939,000 luxury cars sold in China, an increase of 39 percent over 2010 and more than the estimate for Germany, where 914,000 luxury cars are expected to be sold this year. According to Jenny Gu, an analyst for LMC Automotive, luxury car sales in China will probably rise 16 percent next year, way faster than Germany’s projected 4.4 percent growth.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are relying on China and the U.S. to boost growth next year as Europe may find itself in recession, at least through the first half of 2012. “Luxury car demand is still on the rise in China with low penetration rates. Sales of such cars in developed markets like Germany fluctuate together with the economic cycle,” Jenny Gu was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

In the U.S., the world’s largest luxury car market, deliveries are expected to rise 18 percent to 1.65 million units this year.