By on October 17, 2011

The Chinese car market may be a bit tepid these days. It’s slow, because fewer small commercial vehicles are being sold, and because sales of small passenger  cars, especially homegrown ones, are not growing as much as they used to. One segment appears to be utterly oblivious to the slowdown in China: Premium cars. Bitter rivals BMW and Audi are selling more cars in China than ever.

Audi celebrates its highest-ever September sales with 29,500 units, up 33.2 percent. Last year, Audi sold 225,588 cars in China, Audi’s largest single market. That number had been passed in the first week of October. “In 2011, we want to break the 300,000 unit barrier,” said Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer.

Sales of imported Audi cars totaled 40,500 units in the first nine months this year, up 68 percent. More than 1,400 of the imported A8L sedan were sold in China last month, double the number from September 2010. Despite long wait times, the top-of-the-line SUV Q7 registered sales of about 1,600 units, up 84 percent. The Audi TT also saw sales double in September to nearly 3,000 units.

Audi will have its entire lineup on the Chinese market by 2015, the company said earlier this year.

BMW increased its September sales in China by 20.9 percent. From January to September a total of 177,522 vehicles were delivered in the BMW Group’s third-largest market, an increase of 45.7 percent.

Over-the-top individualized bimmers are selling especially well. The BMW 7 Series Steinway & Sons global limited edition, featuring hand polished exterior piano lacquer in either black or white, sold out all 88 cars allotted to China four months after the model went on sale in April.

The run of this series was limited to 150 cars around the globe, more than half have been sold to Chinese consumers at prices of up to 3.2 million yuan ($502,000).

At the Guangzhou Auto Show, BMW will show the 760Li V12 25th anniversary limited edition. Built to celebrate 25 years of a 12-cylinder engine in a 7 Series sedan, only 50 of the cars will be made. All will go to Chinese buyers.


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10 Comments on “China Is High On Luxury Cars...”

  • avatar

    BMW has a 19% discount on the 3-Series, and Mercedes has 20% off the C-Class.

    not exactly a good sign for the premium end of the market.

  • avatar

    As a former resident of SHANGHAI, and HANG ZHOU CHINA, let me be first to say, it’s so interesting seeing what the Chinese are doing with the money America’s politicians and American shoppers stupidly GAVE AWAY for the past 15 years. It feels so good to be sold out doesn’t it?

  • avatar

    If free trade is the price we need to pay to keep up out of a shooting war, then that’s fine by me. I rather like my chicom-made Apple iMac, and I hope they like the little bits of paper money I gave them.

  • avatar

    For every new Audi or BMW owner in mainland China, I’d bet dollars to donuts that there are at least 100 workers grueling away in a sweat shop. Probable more.

    Enjoy your Chicom iMac – if you are young, it will be good to learn some Chinese to please your future boss.

    • 0 avatar

      And what’s the “new luxury car owner to poorly-paid-laborer” ratio for the US nowadays?

      Also, have you ever been inside a Chinese manufacturing facility?

      • 0 avatar

        Have you ever only had to work an 8 hour shift, a forty hour week, not have to live a company owned dormitory and after paying for your own housing, been able to afford a car or two?

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll take that as a “No, I haven’t”.

        As for your question, yes, as a US-based engineer I’m very familiar with the lifestyle you describe. I’m not sure what that has to do with China, though.

        Doing physical jobs for low pay and living in company-owned housing is not unique to “Red China”. It happened frequently in the US during the early days of industrialization.,_Chicago

  • avatar

    Red China, a worker’s paradise

  • avatar

    How are Buick’s sales compared to BMW and Audi?

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