Chinese Buy More Luxury Cars Than Germans

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Jean-Pierre Sarti Jean-Pierre Sarti on Dec 22, 2011

    All I have got to say is a whole bunch of government officials know how to roll in style!

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Dec 22, 2011

    Don't the Germans have some social constraints on what cars they can buy? Maybe I'm mistaken but somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that there is a strong social sanction against buying a car that is "above your station" so to speak. Not a law, of course, just a social expectation.

    • Jmo Jmo on Dec 22, 2011
      Don’t the Germans have some social constraints on what cars they can buy? You can't buy a car below your station either.
  • Carbiz Carbiz on Dec 22, 2011

    The inevitability of articles like this is obvious to most: I read somewhere that China's middle class is now larger than the entire population of the United States. While the disciples of Globalization, the Prostrating Enviro-weenies and the White Man Apologists emasculate the United States in particular, and the West in general, the march of Asia toward world domination will surprise only those with their heads in the sand. 150 years of technology has been handed over in a decade. Two hundred years worth of industrial jobs were handed over in the same time. Although Whirlpool, GE and others may find it easier to build things over there without facing the same silly litigious and environmental concerns they would face here, they are sewing the seeds of their own (and ours, too) destruction. For Americans this must be truly humbling: seeing the bridge ahead is out, but being unable to stop the train. Canadians are used to kissing a$$, and since many of my fellow countrymen so resent America that they are willingly selling their souls to their future Asian masters just to thumb their noses at our southern neighbor, our sovereignty and future will not only be handed over, but it will be done so with a typical Canadian smile and, 'gee, shucks.' Is there anyone south of the 49th parallel who still has their hands on the brake handle and is awake?

  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on Dec 22, 2011

    And before you know it, they'll overtake the US as well, the rise of the far east at the expense of the west.

    • See 1 previous
    • Carbiz Carbiz on Dec 22, 2011

      @jmo Not today, but in 20 years it will be. If China achieves even 50% parity with the West in their standard of living, there will either be massive shortages of critical resources or wars fought over them, or both! How can it be any other way? The elephant in the room is not the end of oil or the Middle East blowing itself up, or Chinese growth or American imperialism: it is 2 countries that account for nearly half the world's population that now actively covet Western style lives. Until THAT discussion is on the table at the next U.N. conference, we are spiraling toward a clash of civilizations that is inevitable.