For the first time this year, BMW loses the best-selling premium brand crown to a rival as Audi squeaks past the Bavarians in the first two months of 2014 to take the title.
Automotive News reports Audi delivered 242,400 units in January and February of this year, 383 more than BMW; at the same time last year, BMW led Audi by 429 units in their nine-year period of dominance over the global premium car market.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler appeared not to be impressed by the news, however, as he noted in the brand’s annual press conference this week:
We’re ahead of our two main rivals in the first two months, but this doesn’t really interest me much. Our focus is on further growth.
Said growth aims to be driven by the introduction of 17 new or revamped models this year — including the A3 sedan roll-out in the United States and China, as well as the refreshed A3 hatchback and TT — as part of a five-year, 22-billion-euro investment in the brand, with goal of surpassing BMW once and for all in global sales by 2020.
BMW sales chief Ian Robertson, for his part, was confident his employer would take back the crown soon enough:
The innovative new models coming out this year, such as the 2-series Active Tourer and 4-series Gran Coupe, will give us the momentum to keep growing in 2014.
The new models will likely help the Bavarians rule the market for a 10th consecutive year, selling a projected 1.77 million units in 2014 over Audi’s 1.66 million and Mercedes’s 1.56 million according to IHS Automotive. However, previous reports indicate that the United States will not receive the 2-Series Active Tourer, which is taking heat for its front-drive layout.