2017 (Full Year) China and Worldwide German Luxury Car Sales

In 2017, German premium and luxury car brands Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen had record sales worldwide and in China.

Mercedes CLS 350 d

2017 was another record year for Germany luxury carmakers with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen selling in record numbers worldwide. German premium brands had record car deliveries in China where the gap between Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz has narrowed to only a few thousand cars. In 2017, China accounted for more than half of all VW sales worldwide and more than a third for Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. In the USA, Volkswagen Group brands (Audi, Porsche, VW) increased sales in 2017 while Mercedes-Benz and BMW sales were weaker. In Germany, VW and Porsche sales were weaker in 2017, Audi and BMW sales below market average while Mercedes-Benz gained market share. The larger Volkswagen Group increased worldwide sales by 4.3% to a new record 10,741,500 vehicles.

Global Car Sales by German Luxury Marques in 2017 (Full Year)

For the full 2017 calendar year, German luxury and premium car brands reported the following deliveries worldwide and in the three largest car market – China, USA and Germany:

ManufacturerCar Sales Worldwide 2017Car Sales Worldwide 2016% Change 16/17
Volkswagen Group *10,741,50010,,297,00 4.3
ManufacturerCar Sales in China 2017Car Sales in China 2016% Change 16/17
Volkswagen Group *4,184,2003,982,200 5.1
ManufacturerCar Sales in the USA 2017Car Sales in the USA 2016% Change 16/17
Volkswagen Group *625,100 591,100 5.8
ManufacturerCar Sales in Germany 2017Car Sales in Germany 2016% Change 16/17
Volkswagen Group *1,286,500 1,292,000 -0.4
  • *Volkswagen Group includes Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, MAN, Scandia.
  • **BMW: worldwide for BMW-branded cars; figures for China, USA and Germany includes Mini.
  • Statistics and definitions as per individual car manufacturers.
Note: all references to sales in this article refer to these deliveries reported by the respective manufacturers. Only the German registrations referred to below are actual KBA figures – there may be considerably delays between delivery, sale and actual registration.

Mercedes-Benz – Seventh Record Sales Year in China and Worldwide in 2017

Mercedes-Benz had its seventh consecutive year of record sales worldwide in 2017 when 2,289,344 (+9.9%) cars were delivered. The final quarter of 2017 was also the best ever for Mercedes while December 2017 marked the 58th consecutive month of sale increases.

Mercedes-Benz claims to have been the leading premium car brand in 2017 in amongst others Germany, Great Britain, France, Turkey, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, India, the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

In 2017, China was again the largest and fastest growth region for Mercedes-Benz. Sales in China increased to 587,868 cars – the second consecutive year that Mercedes-Benz sales in China increased by over a quarter. The gap to BMW-Mini in China reduced from around 90,000 cars in 2015 to only 7,000 in 2017, while the gap to Audi shrunk from 200,000 cars to only 10,000.

The USA was again the second largest market for Mercedes-Benz although sales contracted slightly by less than a percentage point to 337,246 cars. Mercedes-Benz blamed this contraction mostly on the decline in the popularity of standard saloon cars in the USA rather than overall market weakness.

In Europe, Mercedes-Benz set new record sales in many countries including Great Britain (+6.4%), France (+9.7%), Spain (+11.9%), Belgium (+15.1%), Switzerland (+7.7%), Sweden (+15.4%), Poland (+42.4%), Austria (+15.2%) and Portugal (+6.2%). In Germany, Mercedes-Benz was again the second best-selling brand after VW with deliveries increasing by 3.5% to 303,528 cars.

BMW – Seventh Record Sales Year in China and Worldwide in 2017

BMW also had its seventh consecutive year of sales records in 2017 with 2,088,283 BMW-branded cars (+4.2%) delivered worldwide. The trend towards SUVs was also noticeable with sales of X vehicles increasing by a stronger 10%. Mini brand sales increased by 3.2% to a record 371,881 cars in 2017. The BMW Group’s electrified cars sales increased by 66% to 103,080 deliveries worldwide.

In 2017, China was again the largest and fastest growing major market for BMW Mini when sales increased by 15% to 594,388 cars. In the US, sales were down -3.4 with BMW also attributing it to the move away from saloon cars and the lack of availability of some SUV X models due to model updates.

In Germany, BMW branded registrations were down by 0.1% to 261,864 cars while Mini had a good year with sales up by 6.1% to 46,706 cars. (KBA registration figures.)

Volkswagen Group – Record Sales Worldwide and in China in 2017

The Volkswagen Group increased worldwide deliveries in 2017 by 4.3% to 10,741,500 cars. In addition to Volkswagen brand, Audi and Porsche, the Volkswagen Group deliveries worldwide in 2017 included Skoda (1,200,500 cars), Seat (468,400 cars), VW commercial vehicles (497,900), MAN (114,100) and Scania (90,800).

In China, the VW Group increased sales by 5.1% to 4,184,200 cars, in the USA by 5.8% to 625,100 cars while deliveries in Germany contracted by 0.4% to 1,286,500 cars. In the total European region, VW Group sales improved by 3.3% to 4,328,500 vehicles.

Volkswagen – Record Sales Worldwide and in China in 2017

Volkswagen had its best year ever in 2017 when 6,230,200 cars were delivered worldwide. This is an increase of 4.2% over 2016 and 100,000 cars higher than the previous record 6,120,000 cars delivered in 2015.

More than half of all Volkswagens delivered worldwide were in China. VW sales to Chinese buyers in 2017 increased by 5.9% to a new record 3,177,300 cars. It was the first time ever that VW sales in China exceeded 3 million cars in a year. December 2017 was the best month ever for VW in China with 342,100 cars delivered – more in one month than VW sold in the US in a year.

VW sales in the USA increased by 5.2% to 339,700 cars in 2017. This was the first increase in sales for VW in the US since 2013. In the whole North American region, sales increased by 1.9% to 591,000 cars. In South America, the recovery was stronger with VW sales up 25% to 419,200 cars.

In Europe, Volkswagen performed weaker with sales down 0.1% to 1,688,100 cars. In Germany, VW deliveries were down 4.7% to 531,600 cars – actual VW registrations in Germany for 2017 contracted by 3.3% to 634,270 cars. However, generous trade-in deals helped VW to a strong recovery in the final months of 2017 with deliveries in Germany in December up by 8.4%.

Audi – Eighth Record Sales Year Worldwide in 2017

Audi increased worldwide deliveries in 2017 for the eighth consecutive year. Although Audi sales were up only 0.6% to 1,878,100 cars in 2017, the second half of the year was very strong. Mid-2017, Audi’s worldwide and Chinese sales were down by 5% and 12% respectively.

In China, a strong recovery during the second half of 2017 allowed Audi to stay just ahead of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Audi sales in China increased by 1.1% to 597,866 cars. Since 2015, the lead over BMW narrowed from around 110,000 cars to 3,500 and for Mercedes-Benz from 200,000 to only 10,000. Audi was help by December 2017 being its strongest month ever in China when 69,160 Audis were delivered to Chinese buyers.

In the USA, Audi increased sales by 7.8% to 226,511 cars in 2017 with December 2017 the 84th consecutive months of growth for Audi in the USA. Although Audi’s sales lagged behind BMW and Mercedes by over 100,000 cars per year it was the only brand to increase sales in the USA.

In Europe, still the most-important region for Audi, sales increased by only 0.4% to 860,600. In Germany, Audi’s second largest country market, deliveries increased by 0.4% to 294,544 cars but actual registrations were down 2.2% to 283,196 cars.

Porsche – Seventh Record Sales Worldwide and in China in 2017

Porsche had its seventh consecutive year of record sales worldwide in 2017. Porsche deliveries worldwide increased by 4% to 246,375 cars.

China was again the largest single-country market for Porsche and with a 10% increase in sales also the fastest growing major market. The USA remained the second largest market for Porsche and sales grew a more modest 2% to 55,420 cars. In Germany, Porsche sales were down 2% to 28,317 cars – at least partly due to the high sales following the launch of the Macan in 2016.

The Macan was again the best-selling Porsche worldwide with more than 97,000 deliveries. Porsche 911 sales amounted to 32,000 cars and 718 models 25,000 cars worldwide.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.