Audi Sales In China Leave BMW, Mercedes In The Dust

Company Sells 16,798 Vehicles In January 2010, Compared To 7,816 In January 2009

China is one of Audi's most loyal and profitable markets

China is one of Audi's most loyal and profitable markets

Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time in China will tell you that, among luxury vehicles, the black, four-door Audi has reigned supreme for years. According to figures released this week, it appears the company is doing better than ever, and Audi’s luster hasn’t diminished one bit in China despite its ubiquity. Last month, Audi reported sales of 16,798 vehicles, around 9,000 more than were sold in January of the previous year, leaving rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the dust. From China Car Times:

Audi’s 2009 total auto sales in China reached just over 160,000 vehicles in 2009, and with Audi predicting 2010 to be a stronger year than 2009, Audi could sell closer to 200,000 vehicles in China this year. Audi is the stronger of three German manufacturers in China due to its early entry into the Chinese marketplace via the VW-FAW JV, BMW in comparison sold 90,500 in 2009 (up 38% over 2008) and Mercedes sold 70,000 (up 65% over 2008).

The article includes an important — but still speculative — point that may temper Audi’s optimism about future prospects in China. Since a sizable proportion of the aforementioned long black Audis sold in China are purchased by government agencies, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to predict that the black Audi may be replaced by the black Volvo once the sale of that company to home-grown Chinese automaker Geely is finalized. As this is slated to go through at some point between March and June, Audi execs are likely going to pull out all the stops to ensure last month’s sales figures can be sustained even if some government agencies do end up switching to Volvos in coming years. But again, it’s all speculative at this point.

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