2013 (Full Year) China and Worldwide German Luxury Car Sales

In 2013, German luxury carmakers had a record year with best sales ever in China and worldwide for Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen.

VW PAssats parked
VW Passats in Chattanooga, USA © Volkswagen Media Services

Car sales in the USA and China continued to expand in 2013, which was generally good news for German luxury car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen. All had their best years ever with all showing strong growth in the increasingly important Chinese market. Car sales in China in 2013 continued to grow strongly with the new passenger vehicle market expanding by 16% to 18 million vehicles – German manufacturers have around a fifth of the worlds largest car market. Luxury German car brands also sold well in the USA, where the car market grew by around 8% to 15,6 million cars. Luxury marques also did relatively better than other less glamorous brands in Europe and Japan.

China is the most important market for Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen, second for Porsche and third for Mercedes-Benz.

Porsche – Record Sales Worldwide and in China in 2013

In 2013, Porsche had its best year ever and saw a 14,9% growth in new car deliveries worldwide to 162,145 cars. This 15% increase by VW-owned Porsche was by far the best performance of any German luxury car manufacturer in 2013. Like Mercedes, Porsche increased sales in all major regions in the world in 2013.

Porsche sales increased by 20.7% to 42,323 cars in the USA, its most important single country market. Growth was similarly strong in China, the second most important market for Porsche, and increased to 37,425 (+19.9%) deliveries.

Porsche sales in Europe were up 4.4% to 51,049 cars and Porsche strongly outperformed the German market by increasing sales by 17.8% to 20,638 deliveries.

Rather worryingly for the image of a sport car manufacturer, the SUV Cayenne was not only the most popular model but accounted for more than half of all Porsche sales in 2013. This move towards sporty SUVs is likely to increase with the smaller Porsche Macan being launched during 2014.

Mercedes-Benz – Record Sales Worldwide and in China in 2013

Mercedes-Benz had its best year ever in 2013 by delivering 1,461,680 (+10.7%) Mercedes-Benz branded cars worldwide – of the German luxury carmakers only Porsche did better in 2013. In contrast to most other manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz succeeded in expanding sales in Europe, the Americas and Asia in 2013 – only Porsche managed the same.

In the USA, the single most important country for Mercedes-Benz, sales increased by 14% to 312,534 cars leaving Mercedes narrowly ahead of BMW in the States.

In China, where Mercedes-Benz is playing catch-up after restructuring its delivery network, sales increased to 218,045 (+11.%) cars. However, the competition pulled ahead even further. China is the third most important country from Mercedes-Benz cars after the USA and Germany (255,238 / -2.2%).

In Europe, where the broader new passenger vehicle market contracted, Mercedes managed to increase market share by selling 660,566 (+5.9%) cars. In Japan, sales grew by 31% to 53,037 deliveries.

Mercedes claims the S-Class was the most popular luxury car in the world in 2013. Mercedes will launch a new C-Class in 2014 with a new smart to follow later in the year.

Audi – Record Year Worldwide and in China in 2013

Audi also had a record year in 2013 with sales increasing to 1,575,500 (+8.3%) deliveries worldwide – the first time VW-owned Audi sold more than 1.5 million cars in a single year.

In China, by far Audi’s most important single country market, sales increased to 491,989 (+21.2%). This not only confirmed Audi as the most popular German luxury car brand in China but further increased Audi’s lead over BMW and Mercedes-Benz in China.

In Germany, Audi’s second most important country, sales were down 5% to 250,025 cars. In the UK, Audi sales increased by 14.9% to 142,039 cars to move Audi ahead of BMW in the expanding British car market. Sales in Europe were flat at -0.9% to 732,300, leaving Europe still the most important world region for Audi.

In the USA, Audi’s third most important car market, sales increased by 13.5% to 158,061 cars – still well behind competitors Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Volkswagen – Record Year Worldwide and in China in 2013

Volkswagen, Germany’s largest carmaker, had a record year in 2013 with worldwide deliveries up 3.4% to 5.93 million passenger cars. In China, by far the most important single-country car market for Volkswagen, car sales increased in 2013 to 2.51 million (16.6%) vehicles. In the total Asia Pacific region, sales increased 15% to 2.73 cars.

In Europe, where the broader market remains weak, Volkswagen sales declined by 3.7% to 1.64 million cars. In the USA, Volkswagen sales declined despite an expanding vehicle market by 6.9% to 407,700 deliveries. Deliveries were also down in South America (-13.9% to 720,400 cars) of which the majority of the losses were in Brazil where sales dropped by 16.7% to 550,800 cars.

With the Golf VII now available worldwide, attention in 2014 will be on the launch of a new Passat.

BMW – Record Year Worldwide and in China in 2013

BMW had a record year in China and worldwide with BMW claiming the title as the world’s most popular luxury car brand. The BMW Group sold 1,963,798 (+6.4%) cars worldwide in 2013. These included 1,655,138 (+7.5%) BMW branded cars, 305,030 (+1.2%) Minis and 3,630 (+1.5%) Rolls Royce limousines.

In China, BMW Group sales increased by 19.7% in 2013 to 390,713 deliveries. BMW pulled further ahead of Mercedes-Benz in China but Audi increased its lead even further with very strong sales. China is now the most important single car market for BMW ahead of the USA and Germany.

Europe remained the most important region for the BMW Group with sales flat (-0.7%) in 2013 at 859,990 deliveries. Sales in the USA increased to 375,782 (+8.1%)  in line with the broader market growth in 2013.

Predictions for 2014 expect most world car markets to expand further.

(All statistics and definitions as per the respective manufacturers.)

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.