Luxury News Roundup: Audi Breaks China Record, Prada Sales To Triple, BMW’s Next China-Only Car

Audi Will Have Entire Lineup In China Market By 2015

A roundup of this weekend’s top stories from the Chinese luxury market, from Audi breaking yet another sales record to Prada’s forecast that sales in China will double within two to three years and BMW leaking details about its next China-edition vehicle.

Audi Breaks September Sales Record In China, On Track To Set Annual Record

Audi continues to power ahead in China

Audi continues to power ahead in China

If sales are indeed slowing in the premium auto segment in China, it hasn’t seemed to had an effect on Audi. This weekend, the German automaker announced it had broken its previous September sales record in China, selling 29,188 cars over the course of the month, and Audi is now on track to beat its annual sales record if all goes to plan. Last year, Audi sold a record 225,588 in China, but with the company breaking monthly sales records for seven consecutive months this year, execs said this week that they expect to move 300,000 units in 2011. To meet rising demand, particularly for its A4L, A6L sedan and Q5 SUV, Audi announced this weekend that it will more than double annual production capacity at its joint-venture factories to 700,000 vehicles by 2015, with 500,000 units to be produced at its plant in Changchun and another 200,000 at a newly approved factory in Guangdong province.

From China Car Times:

In addition to the locally manufactured models Audi A4L and Q5, the success of the four rings in China was also driven by the Q7 and the A8L.

The luxury-class SUV Q7 achieved an 82.9 percent increase in sales in September with around 1,600 units.

Overall sales of imported models have increased by a remarkable 77.4 percent.

Also this weekend, Audi announced plans to introduce its A7 Sportback to the China market “soon.” With the entrance of this and other more specialized vehicles to China, Audi said it expects to sell its full vehicle range in the country by 2015.

Prada Expects China Sales To Triple In 2-3 Years

A scene from Yang Fudong's 2010 short film for Prada, "First Spring"

A scene from Yang Fudong’s 2010 short film for Prada, “First Spring”

The Hong Kong Economic Journal reports today that the Italian fashion house Prada SpA expects its massive expansion effort to pay off in China, with sales expected to triple within the next two to three years. As deputy chairman Carlo Mazzi told reporters over the weekend, “About 40% of our business is from Asia, and it may rise to 50% next year,” adding, “I don’t think China’s economy will be seriously hit by the global economic crisis.” The first Italian luxury brand to list in Hong Kong, Prada is looking to more effectively tap China’s growing consumer market to offset stagnant or shrinking demand in traditional markets like Europe and North America.

Prada reported a 38 percent increase in sales in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau in the first half of 2011, with revenue hitting 961.5 million yuan (US$151 million). As Jing Daily noted this past June, the Greater China region now accounts for around 20 percent of Prada’s global sales, and the label plans to open at least 12 new China outlets in the next three years.

Chinese Appetite For Limited Edition BMWs Remains High

BMW's M3 Tiger edition was a hit last fall

BMW’s M3 Tiger edition was a hit last fall

Six months after the launch of its Steinway & Sons limited-edition 7 Series, all 88 of which sold out in China after only four months, BMW plans to continue to cater to the appetite for limited-editions in China by releasing a special China-only BMW later this year. According to a company release, BMW will release another limited-edition 7 Series at the upcoming Guangzhou Auto Show, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the V12-powered 760Li, but unlike the Steinway & Sons 7 Series, all 50 of the 25th anniversary edition sedans will be set aside for Chinese buyers.

Looking to stay ahead of rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi, BMW has been perhaps the most aggressive in China, in terms of producing limited-edition or China-only models. In 2009, the German automaker created a 760Li commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, and last year, the China-only M3 Tiger was produced to in time for the Chinese Year of the Tiger. No word on whether BMW is planning a “Year of the Dragon” edition for next year, but considering China is currently the largest single market for the BMW 7 Series, we wouldn’t be surprised to see at least some dragon-related elements in the upcoming 25th anniversary 760Li V12.



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