All three major Germany luxury-car brands bucked the downturn in China’s new-vehicle market in 2019, but Audi was dethroned as the country’s top-selling luxury marque after more than two decades on top.
Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW, albeit narrowly, topped Audi in annual sales in the largest market for each brand.
Mercedes-Benz became the No. 1 luxury automotive brand in China, with local deliveries increasing 6.2 percent to 693,443 behind demand for locally produced models.
More than three-quarters of the volume was generated by its locally built cars and light trucks, Daimler said last week.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz assembled seven models at its joint venture with BAIC Motor Co.: the A-, C- and E-class sedans, and four crossovers -- the GLA, GLB and GLC crossovers and the EQC, a battery-electric vehicle.
In 2019, the BMW brand delivered 691,002 vehicles in China, up 13 percent from a year earlier, according to BMW Group’s office for the Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao.
BMW’s jump was led by the X3 built at the company’s joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive. The redesigned crossover contributed volume of more than 120,000 last year after going on sale in July 2018.
Audi trailed closely behind with annual sales rising 4.1 percent to 690,083, according to results released last week.
Audi was the first luxury-car brand to produce in China when it launched output of the elongated A6 sedan at FAW-Volkswagen, Volkswagen Group’s partnership with China FAW Group, in 1999.
From then until 2018, Audi maintained its position as the largest luxury marque in China’s luxury-car market.
Like the German trio, smaller luxury brands -- including Cadillac, Lexus and Volvo -- also maintained sales growth in China in 2019.
Sales at Cadillac rose 3.9 percent to 213,717 in the year.
Deliveries at Lexus surged 25 percent to 200,521 while Volvo sales advanced 19 percent to 154,961.