BMW Takes Top Luxury Spot as December German Auto Sales Show Gains

You might have noticed that this December 2011 German auto sales roundup is out a day later than sales from the rest of the world. There’s a very good reason for that: BMW and Mercedes-Benz’s rivalry. Both automakers reported record sales and were neck and neck to take the title of best-selling premium automaker, so getting the numbers right was of the utmost importance. As for the rest of the German automakers, the latest trends continued, with everyone (save Porsche) reporting an increase in sales, and with diesel vehicles accounting for a larger and larger market share.

Audi – 12,655 Sales, Up 20.0 Percent

When Audi rang in the New Year it not only celebrated its best month of sales in its history with 12,655 vehicles sold in December (up 20.0 percent year-over-year), but also its best year of sales ever with 117,561 vehicles sold, a 15.7 percent increase versus 2010. Audi’s big seller last month was the A4 with 3722 sold, up 5.9 percent year-over-year. The A4 was also Audi’s overall best-seller with 35,234 sold throughout 2011, bringing the model up 1.6 percent year-over-year. While Audi’s next best-seller for the month was the Q5 with 2337 sold, it was down 5.5 percent year-over-year. The biggest percentage gains for December were seen by the new A6 with a 124.0 percent increase with 1855 sold, and the TT, which was up 237.5 percent with 216 sold, something that Audi attributes to the TTRS. Also noteworthy are Audi’s TDI diesel sales; diesels accounted for 55 percent of A3 sales and 41 percent of Q7 sales in 2011.

BMW – 26,834 Sales, Up 15.3 Percent

December saw BMW not only beating out Mercedes-Benz for monthly sales with 26,834 vehicles sold, up 15.3 percent year-over-year, but also for the year, making BMW the best-selling luxury automaker out of all brands in the United States. 2011 saw 247,907 BMWs sold, up 12.6 percent year-over-year. BMW’s volume seller for both the month and the year remains the 3 Series, with 8489 sold in December, bringing the 2011 total to 94,371. While it is the volume leader, 3 Series sales are still down 15.7 percent for the month and 6.5 percent for the year. Picking up that slack was the X5 and 5 Series; BMW sold 6007 X5s last month, up 52.5 percent, and 4887 5 Series’, down 3.1 percent. BMW’s biggest gains last month were seen in the X3 which with 3532 sold was up 316.0 percent, and the 6 Series, which with 723 sales was up 932.9 percent.

Mercedes-Benz – 25,701 Sales, Up 27.9 Percent

Mercedes-Benz reported another strong month of sales with its 25,701 sales putting it up 27.9 percent year-over-year. Mercedes was also just shy of beating BMW for top honors in luxury car sales in 2011, with 245,231 vehicles sold – a 13.3 percent improvement over last year. That figure doesn’t include sales of the Sprinter van, which Mercedes lumps into its own category (Mercedes sold 16,577 Sprinters last year and 1595 last month). Mercedes’ best seller for the month was the all-new C-Class with 7744 sold, up 57.3 percent, bringing 2011’s C-Class total up 17.9 percent to 69,314. Mercedes’ other top sellers were the E-Class with 5301 sold last month (down 6.0 percent) and 62,736 sold during the year (up 3.0 percent), and the M-Class with 5313 sold last month (up 40.4 percent) and 35,835 sold during the year (up 20.7 percent). Mercedes also notes that its diesel sales for 2011 were up 85.2 percent for the year, with 14,358 of all Mercedes sold sporting oil burners under the hood.

Mini – 5711 Sales, Up 32.2 Percent

Mini reported both its best December and best ever year in the U.S. with last month’s sales. Mini sold 5711 vehicles in December, up 32.2 percent, bringing its 2011 total to 57,511, up 26.0 percent. Mini’s bread and butter for the month and year were the Cooper and the Countryman. Mini sold 2762 Coopers last month, up 7.6 percent year-over-year, bringing 2011’s Cooper total to 28,067 (down 5.4 percent year-over-year). Countryman sales were up 244.5 percent, with 1981 sold, bringing 2011’s Countryman total to 16,683, which was up 2801.4 percent.

Porsche – 1834 Sales, Down 28.5 Percent

Porsche reported yet another month of a downward trend in sales with just 1834 vehicles sold, down 28.5 percent. Even with three consecutive months of poor sales, Porsche was actually up 14.6 percent for 2011 with 29,023 vehicles sold, most of which were Cayennes. Speaking of which, the Cayenne was again Porsche’s volume seller for the month, with 830 of the super SUVs sold, down 25.2 percent year-over-year. Porsche’s next-best-seller was the Panamera followed closely by the 997 911, with 476 and 423 vehicles sold, and a 32.0 percent and 16.9 percent downturn year-over-year, respectively. Bringing up the rear were the Boxster and Cayman, with just 105 sold, down 57.8 percent year-over-year.

Smart – 710 Sales, Up 24.6 Percent

Smart sales were up again for the second month in a row, probably thanks in part to its new ad campaign. Smart sold 710 ForTwos last month, up 24.6 percent year-over-year. Overall Smart sales were down 12.1 percent for the year, with 5208 ForTwos sold in 2011.

Volkswagen – 35,502 Sales, Up 36.2 Percent

Volkswagen sales were up yet again in December, totaling 32,502 vehicles and putting the brand up 36.2 percent year-over-year. VW’s December puts its yearly sales north of 300,000 to 324,402 vehicles, making it up 26.3 percent year-over-year – VW’s best year in sales since 2002. Leading VW’s sales charge yet again was the Jetta which was up 18.0 percent year-over-year with 12,422 sedans sold in December. VW’s second best seller last month was the Passat with 6884 sold, up a whopping 3745.8 percent. Not surprisingly, Volkswagen’s worst seller last month was the Routan minivan with just 533 sold, down 57.3 percent year-over-year. Also of note were VW TDI diesel sales; 18.4 percent of VW’s sold in December were TDI models, helping make 21.6 percent of Volkswagen’s sold in 2011 diesels.

Source: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen

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