2012 Germany: Worldwide Car Sales by German Auto Makers

In 2012, German car manufacturers enjoyed record car sales worldwide and even gained market share in the struggling European car market.

Mercedes CLA at the 2013 Detroit Car Show
Mercedes CLA at the 2013 Detroirt Car Show © Daimler AG

In 2012, all major German car manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volkswagen enjoyed record car sales worldwide. German car producers famously never miss an opportunity for government subsidies and research funds but still managed to sell more cars worldwide in 2012 than ever before. Even in the weak European market, German luxury brands increased sales and / or market share in many countries.

World Car Sales by German Vehicle Manufacturers in 2012

German carmakers have done very well during 2012 with record sales by virtually every automobile manufacturer and in every regional market. Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz all had their best performances ever in 2012. (Although Opel and Ford are considered German in Germany, these companies are not free to explore international markets similar to the independent carmakers and thus excluded from the data.)

Car sales by German luxury and premium marques in 2012 were as follows:

Volkswagen % Audi % Porsche % BMW % Mercedes % VW Group %
World 5,74 m 12.7 1,455,100 11.7 141,075 18.7 1,845,186 10.6 1,423,835 4.5 9,07 m 11.2
Europe 1,7 m -1.2 739,000 1.8 49,639 13.5 864,812 0.8 554,797 0.6 3,67 m -0.3
Germany 672,921 -2 266,582 6.3 20,516 9.8 284,494 -4.4 283,006 -0.9 1.18 m 1.9
Americas 41,060 19.5 424,379 11.9 311,547 11.3
N America 623,300 25.5 841,500 26.2
USA 438,100 35.1 139,310 18.5 35,043 20.7 347,583 13.8 274,134 11.8 596,100 34.2
L America 836,600 8.3 1,01 m 8.2
Asia Pacific 2,37 m 23.2 478,900 28.1 50,376 23.6 491,512 31.6 337,102 5.1 3.17 m 23.3
China 2,15 m 24.8 405,838 29.6 31,205 28.2 326,444 40.4 196,211 1.5 2,81 m 24.5
Japan 56,191 11 24,163 14.2 56,607 18.9 40,488 24.9
India 9,003 63.4 114,100 2.1


  • All statistics as supplied by the various car manufacturers, except Germany by the KBA.
  • Definitions of geographical areas may differ.
  • VW Group includes mainly Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, and Porsche.

Record Car Sales by German Carmakers Worldwide in 2012

All five German premium carmakers had record sales worldwide in 2012. The Volkswagen Group exceeded 9 million deliveries in a single year for the first time ever. The VW Group also had its best year ever in the USA and broke the record set in 1970 when the VW Beetle was its main product.

Volkswagen-branded cars also had a record year. Volkswagen showed strong growth on all markets except Europe. However, despite weaker sales in Western Europe VW gained market share by outperforming the overall weak market. Volkswagen continued to perform very well in China, which is now responsible for around 37% of all Volkswagens bought worldwide.

Audi also had a record year and saw sales growth even in Europe and Germany where most manufacturers struggled. Audi narrowly outsold Mercedes worldwide but delivered double as many cars in China. China accounts for more than a quarter of all Audi sales worldwide.

Porsche, which has been part of the Volkswagen Group since August 2012, had its best year ever. Overall sales increased 19% with Porsche even showing strong growth in Europe. In the USA, Porsche’s most important market, sales grew 21% to stay just ahead of China, which is fast increasing in importance. Porsche has almost doubled its car production in the last three years.

BMW also had a record year and strengthen its position as the world’s leading premium car brand. BMW saw positive growth on all continents. In China, the third most important market for BMW after Germany and the USA, BMW sales increased by 40% in 2012.

Mercedes-Benz also had its best year ever in 2012, although growth was less spectacular than the competitors. Mercedes continue to lack Audi and BMW in China, which buys only around 13% of Mercedes cars compared to 18% for BMW and 27% for Audi.