Asia Briefing: Germans battle for share of Chinese auto market

Premium sector remains attractive, despite slowdown, especially for SUVs

 

Despite the economic slowdown, China’s premium market remains attractive for automakers battling sluggish expansion globally, and there is a frantic battle going on here between Germany’s top motor manufacturers.

China has been the world’s largest auto market since 2009, with car sales in 2012 rising to an all-time high of 19.3 million vehicles.

Wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and SUVs rose 13 per cent to 1.44 million units in April, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

German firms rule this section of the market, with Volkswagen’s Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz accounting for 70 per cent last year.

Audi notched up the fastest pace of sales growth among German luxury marques in the country last month. Deliveries rose 13 per cent to 38,710 vehicles in China and Hong Kong in April, the company said, compared to an 11 per cent rise to 30,311 units reported by BMW.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz said sales increased 11 per cent to16,241 units in China and Hong Kong.

In China, Audi had 29.6 per cent of the market, BMW had 23.6 per cent, while Mercedes-Benz took 20.6 per cent in 2012, according to researcher IHS Global Insight.

Deliveries of Audi in the first four months rose 14 per cent, while Mercedes-Benz posted a 6.6 per cent decline and BMW reported an 8.6 per cent increase.

The overall trend is slowing, however. Audi reported 44 per cent growth in April last year.

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