2015 (Q1) China and Worldwide German Luxury Car Sales

Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman limousine at Geneva Auto Salon 2015German premium car brands Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche enjoyed new record sales worldwide and in China in March and the first quarter of 2015. Volkswagen sales worldwide and in China were slightly lower at the start of 2015 compared to the first three months of 2014. New passenger vehicle registrations for German luxury marques are continuing to grow but at a slower pace than in recent years. Only Mercedes-Benz and Porsche registered double-digit increases in sales. China has now also become the most important single-country market for Mercedes-Benz and Porsche – it has long been the top market for Volkswagen, Audi and BMW.

Record Luxury German Car Sales in China and Worldwide in 2015 (Q1)

The good times continued for German luxury car marques with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all enjoying new record deliveries worldwide and in China during the first three months of 2015. March 2015 was the strongest month ever for all four. In contrast, sales of Volkswagen cars were slightly down during the first quarter of 2015.

Manufacturer Car Cales in China Q1/2015 % Change Car Sales Worldwide Q1/2015 % Change
Volkswagen 678,400 -0.6 1,480,000 -1.3
Audi 133,316 7.1 438,250 6.1
BMW* 114,994 6.5 451,576 5.4
Mercedes-Benz 78,183 16.6 429,602 14.8
Porsche 13,286 34.4 51,102 32.2
*BMW figures for China includes Mini. Statistics and definitions as per individual car manufacturers. % Change compared to Q1/2014.

China is now the most important single-country market for Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen. In 2014, the US market was still more important for both Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

Audi – Record March and First Quarter in 2015

Audi had its strongest first quarter of a year ever in 2015 when worldwide deliveries increased by 6.1% to 438,000 cars. March 2015 was also Audi’s best month ever when 177,950 cars were sold worldwide. It was the 63rd consecutive month of year-on-year growth for Audi.

In the Asia Pacific region, Audi sales increased during the first quarter of 2015 to 163,150 (+7.6%) cars. In China, where Audi increased its lead in the premium sector ahead of BMW, growth was 7.1% to 133,316 cars. In contrast, Audi’s growth in China during the first quarter of 2014 was a much stronger 21%.

In Europe, Audi sales during the first three months of 2015 increased by 3.4% to 207,250 cars. In Germany, Audi’s second largest market, sales increased by 10.2% to 73,208 cars and in the UK, Audi’s third largest market, sales were up 4.8% to 45,783 cars.

The USA remained Audi’s fourth largest market. In the US, Audi sales increased by 13.8% to 40,098 cars – still some way behind competitors BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

BMW – Record March and First Quarter in 2015

BMW also had its best March and best first quarter of the year ever in 2015. Worldwide sales of BMW Group Automobiles increased by 8.1% to 526,669 deliveries including 451,576 (+5.4%) BMW-branded cars and 74,312 (+28.4%) Minis. The strong growth of Mini sales is largely due to a major model change during the first months of 2014, which translated into low sales at the beginning of last year.

In Asia, BMW Group sales increased during the first quarter of 2015 by 5.2% to 166,330 BMW and Mini cars. In China, the largest market for BMW, sales during the first quarter of the year increased by 6.5% to 114,994 cars – allowing Audi to pull further ahead and Mercedes-Benz to catch up slightly.

In Europe, BMW Group deliveries increased by 9.6% during the first quarter of 2015 to 234,658 cars. In the Americas, BMW and Mini sales increased by an equally strong 9.9% to 109,510 cars.

Mercedes-Benz – Record March and First Quarter in 2015

Mercedes-Benz enjoyed stronger growth than both Audi and BMW during both March and the first quarter of 2015 to break the records set a year ago. Worldwide, Mercedes-Benz car sales increased by 14.8% to 429,602 deliveries with Smart car deliveries growing even faster with 22.7% to 28,744 cars.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Mercedes-Benz car sales increased by a strong 16.7% to 138,467 deliveries. China narrowly overtook the USA as the single most important market for Mercedes-Benz when sales increased by 16.6% during the first quarter of 2015 to 78,183 cars. However, Mercedes is still lagging far behind Audi and BMW in the important Chinese market. In Japan, Mercedes-Benz replaced Volkswagen as the top-selling foreign brand when sales increased by 5.4% to 18,776 cars.

In the USA, Mercedes-Benz sold only 27 fewer cars than in China during the first quarter of 2015 making the US now only the second largest market for Mercedes. Sales in the US grew by 7.6% to 78,156 deliveries.

In Europe, Mercedes-Benz sales grew by 16% to 187,284 cars . In Germany, the third largest single-country market for Mercedes-Benz, sales grew by 7.3% to 60,115 cars.

Porsche – Record March and First Quarter of 2015

Porsche had its strongest March and first quarter of a year ever in 2015. Worldwide deliveries of Porsche cars increased by 31.5% % in March to 20,222 cars and for the first quarter of 2015 by 32.2% to 51,102 cars.

The start of 2015 was the first time ever that Porsche had delivered more than 50,000 cars during the first quarter of a year. Porsche experienced strong growth in all regions of the world with the Macan winning new customers for Porsche with claims that three-quarters of buyers of this new smaller SUV were new to the brand. Porsche delivered 62,644 Macans in the past twelve months – around 17,000 during the first quarter of 2015.

Europe remained the most important region for Porsche with sales increasing by an impressive 51.5% to 17,413 deliveries during the first quarter of 2015. In Germany, Porsche’s third largest market, deliveries increased by 44% to 7,029 cars.

In China, Porsche sales increased by more than a third to 13,286 (+34.4%) cars. China is now clearly the most important single-country market for Porsche as well.

In the USA, Porsche deliveries increased by a more moderate – for Porsche at least – 12.8% during the first three months of 2015. The USA is now only the second largest market for Porsche with 11,430 cars sold. Almost all of Porsche’s gains in the USA were due to the 2,600 Macans sold – sales of almost all other models were strongly weaker.

Volkswagen – Lower Sales in China and Worldwide in 2015 (Q1)

In contrast to the other German premium car brands, Volkswagen’s worldwide sales were slightly down in March and during the first quarter of 2015. Volkswagen delivered 1.48 million cars (-1.3%) worldwide during the first three months of 2015.

In the Asia Pacific region, Volkswagen deliveries during the first quarter of 2015 were down 0.6% to 735,400 cars. In China, by far the most important single-country market for VW, sales were down by 0.6% to 678,400 cars. In Japan, VW sales were down by 21.7% allowing Mercedes-Benz to take top slot as most popular foreign brand.

Volkswagen also struggled in the Americas. In North America, sales during the first quarter of 2015 increased by 0.4% to 136,400 cars but in the important US market, VW sales were down 9.3% to 79,200 cars . In South America, Volkswagen sales were down 15.2% to 128,600 cars with the Brazilian market down 18.1% to 98,000 cars.

Volkswagen had more success in Europe were sales grew by 1.9% during the first quarter of 2015 to 430,300 cars. In Germany, VW sales increased by 8.3% to 144,100 cars with sales in the rest of Western Europe up 5.5% to 237,500 cars. However, in Eastern Europe, sales were sharply down by 24.3% to 48,600 cars with the Russian market collapsing to only 18,100 (-47.2%) cars.