For the first time ever, Audi passed Mercedes-Benz to become the second-highest-selling premium brand in the world.
In the first three months of the new decade, Audi outsold Mercedes, moving 264,100 cars in the first quarter of 2010, compared to Mercedes-Benz's 248,500. The figure is not only a 25.6-percent jump from the same time last year, but Audi's record for quarterly sales. Audi completed 110,400 deliveries in March alone, a 22.2-percent increase over the same period last year.
Should the pace continue, Audi should be on track to sell just over 1 million vehicles in 2010, but it will need to surpass BMW if it wants to become the largest luxury automaker in the world. For all we know, Audi may have jumped the Bavarians -- BMW won't reveal its quarterly figures for another few days, but did witness sales in March grow by 3.1 percent.
A good part of Audi's recent success can be directly attributed to its presence in China. The automaker sold nearly 20 percent of its output in China alone. 51,449 units rolled off Audi showroom floors in China, nearly double what BMW and Mercedes, who sold 34,179 and 24,100 units, respectively.
Audi wants to continue to push while it has an advantage. "We expect continued growth compared to last year in the second quarter of 2010," said Peter Schwartzen, Audi's head of global sales and marketing. Certainly, several new products -- including the all-new A8 sedan and the A1 compact hatchback -- will have a positive effect on the company's sales figures for the foreseeable future.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)