Sales of Audi branded cars have been losing steam as the Volkswagen AG premium brand is being pressured by the slumping figures in China, as the Ingolstadt-based maker has now slipped behind both Mercedes and BMW.
According to a statement from the automaker, Audi sales surged 1.4 percent last month to 146,100 units – the increased recovery force in Europe and the spectacular results in the United States were enough to mitigate the 12.5 percent drop in China, the make’s largest auto market. But the data is now even more worrisome for Audi’s executives because the brand has fallen behind BMW and Mercedes-Benz for two straight months. BMW sold 147,513 autos last month and Mercedes-Benz topped both with deliveries of 149,753 cars. This also market the first month in 2015 that Mercedes managed to recapture the top spot – Audi has relegated the former champion to the third position worldwide every year in terms of sales since 2011. “The market situation in China has remained challenging as expected, exacerbated by the stock market turmoil,” commented Audi sales chief Luca de Meo. Audi delivers almost a third of its cars in China, the world’s largest auto market but only the second biggest in terms of premium autos.
As far as the period since the start of the year is considered, Mercedes-Benz – which has delivered a major offensive of new and redesigned models this year – has been able to sell as many cars as Audi – a total of 1.048 million autos. Meanwhile, BMW AG’s namesake brand remains the leader with 1.079 million units.