BMW Holds Off Audi, Remains Top Premium Brand In Q1

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Forgive Audi a little hubris. As Bertel Schmitt has explained, mere decades ago “the brand was thought ideal for high school teachers or tax collectors, who kept their hats on while driving.” To now be figuring in the nightmares of Daimler bosses clearly juices up the marketing staff no end. And though Audi may have won that MT comparo referenced in the ad above, BMW has held off the upstarts for at least one more quarter in the “friendly competition” over global sales numbers.

The boys from Bavaria enjoyed a 13.8 increase in sales, moving 265,809 units over the first three months of this year. BMW Group sales, including MINI and Rolls-Royce sold 315,614, as the two British brands added 49,805 sales on the way to an identical 13.8 percent increase.

Audi kept it close though, selling just 1,709 units fewer according to Automotive News [sub], with 264,100. This despite a record March for the Volkswagen-owned brand, and 26.4 percent growth in the first quarter. Mercedes, meanwhile, is languishing at a mere 15 percent growth and 248,500 sales.

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Apr 12, 2010

    After going to the car show and doing some careful examination of the cars, I'd have to say that BMW's workmanship as far as body panel fit and interior (dashboard) is not what it used to be. I was actually disappointed with the 3 in that regard. It may be a better car dynamically than the Audi, but is does not have equal build quality. I have to add that the only car line of the show that had "bad old days" fit and finish was Jaguar. Each car on display had at least one major body panel misalignment...

  • ExPatBrit ExPatBrit on Apr 12, 2010

    To be fair the 3 series is pretty nice, holds value and does handle. I don't see a lot of enthusiasts driving them though and most of the newer 3 series I see are automatics driven by 20 something Asian girls. The 5 and 7 series cars and X3 and X5 SUVs are not that reliable and depreciate like rocks just like their equivalent Audi brethren. Not to mention unless you take the time to fit some blizzaks in late fall to that sedan you will fall off the road with those stock tires at any hint of snow. Yes they do four wheel drive versions of the sedans but because of the limitations of the packaging they mostly resemble Subaru Outbacks. I will stick with my Audis (3rd one in 13 years) thanks.

  • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Apr 13, 2010

    @tauronmaikar "until the next 3-series comes out. After that everybody knows it will be time for Audi to dry their tears and go back to the drawing board." We'll see about that. Have you seen the reviews of the new F10 5 series? Are the authors screaming "BMW does it again!!! The competition might as well give up and go home, it's game over!" No, they aren't. The general consensus seems to be that the new 5 is less ugly, a bit heavier, and a bit duller to drive than its predecessor. The earth has not been shattered, and there's a very real chance that the upcoming C7 gen A6 will be the better car not just at the end of its life, but right out of the gate. The days of BMW just walking over everyone else with new 3s and 5s are done. Is the next 3 going to be better than the B8 A4? I would hope so, given that its a newer design. But by how much? And will Audi take the lead back with the B9 A4? It's a good bet that they will.

    • See 2 previous
    • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Apr 13, 2010

      The RS4 was based on a design from 2002. We're only now seeing Audi's true answer to the E90 M3 - the RS5. While its still going to be a very expensive car, RS models always are, I'm sure that performance advantage that the M3 had compared to the RS4 is gone. In any event, whether you like Audi or you hate them, the rivalry between the two companies can only benefit customers of both. As I said before, BMW created the 335is as a response to the S4. Even if you never had any intention of going near an Audi dealership, you can still thank Ingolstatd for the 335is. BMW certainly isn't kept on their toes by the C-class.

  • Mrcrispy Mrcrispy on Apr 14, 2010

    BMW buyers fall into 2 classes - 1. buying the 'ultimate driving machine' (most of the readers here) 2. buying the roundel There is a 3, luxury buyers who cross shop other brands, but for BMW that's not such a big factor. For a lot of people, its a question of 'which BMW' rather than why?