If, a few years ago, I would have suggested that the Chinese would buy more Mercedes, BMW and Audi than the Autobahn-addicted Germans, you would have suggested an increase in dosage. But the condition is incurable. China may overtake Germany as the world’s second-largest market for luxury cars, says Bloomberg. The largest market for upscale units remains the U.S. — until further notice.
Jenny Gu, a Shanghai- based analyst at research firm LMC Automotive, sees the number of luxury cars sold in China to climb 39 percent to 939,000 in 2011. In Germany, 914,000 premium cars are likely to be delivered this year. For the next year, Ms. Gu sees an increase of 16 percent in China, compared with Germany’s 4.4 percent growth.
China has become the growth and profit engine for BMW, Daimler and Audi. Executives hope it will stay that way, as Europe looks a little pale around the nose.
All three luxury-auto makers posted record November sales in China. Audi soared 69 percent over last year, BMW (BMW) rose 9.8 percent and Mercedes gained 24 percent.
Audi’s 11-month sales in China have advanced 35 percent to 283,600. BMW through November has climbed 40 percent to 200,699, while Mercedes has gained 31 percent to 170,112.
In the U.S., deliveries will probably climb 18 percent to 1.65 million this year, Gu said. Give the Chinese a few years, and that will be taken care of also.