BMW on track to become China’s top luxury brand

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For the month of November, BMW sold 55,293 vehicles in China, up 12% from the same month last year. Based on a report by Automotive News, this puts the Bavarian company right on track to be the Republic’s top premium brand, with a 15% year-to-date growth to 542,362 units compared to its performance within the same period last year.

The luxury playing field saw Audi shifting 56,208 units (up 6.5%), whereas Mercedes-Benz’s brand registrations increased a strong 22% to 50,813. Audi, despite being the best performer in November, is playing catch-up after losing sales earlier in the year when its dealers began boycotting the brand.

The problem arose when the Ingolstadt-based automaker planned to launch a second distribution channel in China. This angered a few dealers, hence the boycott. Audi cancelled on the plan in May, and sales have been on the rise ever since.

BMW currently leads the luxury sales chart with 542,362 units, followed by second-place Mercedes-Benz with 539,728 units (up 27%) and third place Audi with 528,706 units (down 2.1%). Mercedes-Benz was formerly China’s number three luxury car brand.

To maintain pace, BMW is having discussions with Great Wall Motor on plans to form a joint venture to produce cars in China for MINI. The company is also launching a car-sharing program this month which will see a small fleet of electric i3 models be used in Chengdu. If successful, BMW could expand its car-sharing program to help meet China’s tough EV mandates in 2019.

Back at home, Mercedes-Benz shifted 10,952 units for the first 11 months of 2017, versus 9,608 for BMW and 678 for Audi.

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