Luxury cars still top China market

Despite a projected decrease in overall auto sales in the first three months in China, luxury car purchases remain torrid.

German carmaker Audi AG announced last Thursday that its sales in China in the first quarter rose by 40 percent year-on-year to more than 90,000 vehicles.

“This figure sets a new record. Audi just had its most successful quarter ever in China,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, the company’s board member for marketing and sales, said in a statement.

He added that the company expects double-digit sales growth in coming months in China, where Audi delivered 31,505 vehicles in March, an increase of 37 percent from a year earlier.

BMW, the second-largest premium carmaker by sales in China, said it will release first quarter and March sales figures on April 11.

Foreign media report that BMW sales chief Ian Robertson said first-quarter deliveries in China surpassed 75,000 units, up from 58,500 a year ago. That represents a growth of more than 28 percent.

Robertson told the media in the eve of the New York auto show last week that the automaker had an “outstanding first quarter and the best ever in the company’s history” as both the Chinese and US markets played leading roles with similar sales numbers.

Daimler AG’s luxury unit Mercedes-Benz also had a successful first quarter in China with a record high of more than 51,000 vehicles sold from January to March.

The figure was a 19.5 percent increase from the same period last year, according to its press release.

Mercedes-Benz’s sales last month in China rose 16 percent to 17,660 units.

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