Audi is on the brink of overtaking German rival BMW to become the most popular luxury car brand in the world.
The Ingolstadt-based manufacturer trails its Bavarian adversary by just 2110 vehicle sales after the first eight months of 2012, putting Audi in prime position to knock BMW off the top of the luxury car sales charts for the first time in eight years.
Bloomberg reports sales of Volkswagen Group’s German luxury division have increased 13 per cent year-to-date to 961,000 – a growth rate almost double that of BMW, which is up 7.8 per cent this year to 963,110.
Audi outsold BMW by 5370 units in August (108,100 vs 102,730) – the manufacturer’s third mini victory following earlier sales supremacy in the months of April and July.
Surging sales in the world’s two largest automotive markets – China (+33 per cent) and the US (+18 per cent) – have played a significant role in Audi’s competitiveness in 2012.
Audi is enjoying the fruits of 20 billion euros ($24.6 billion) in research and development investment over the past 10 years. It now offers one of the most diverse product portfolios in the industry, ranging from the city-sized Audi A1 and the compact Audi Q3 crossover all the way to the super-luxo Audi A8 limousine and the high-performance Audi R8 supercar.
Despite the company’s global success, Audi ranks third among Australia’s luxury car brands, and is the only one of the top three to go backwards in 2012.
BMW leads the way after August with 11,997 sales, followed by Mercedes-Benz on 11,384 and then Audi on 9495. (The Mercedes figure represents passenger cars only, and excludes commercial vehicles. With commercial vehicles added, Mercedes-Benz Australia’s year to date sales total 14,264.)
Local Audi sales will enjoy a boost from early 2013 when the all-new Audi A3 small hatch reaches Australian showrooms.