China drives luxury German car sales

GERMAN carmakers BMW and Audi have reported record January sales, boosted by demand for luxury vehicles in Russia and China.

Audi, the high-end brand owned by Volkswagen, said it delivered around 95,400 cars to customers worldwide last month, an increase of 22.6 per cent on the same period last year.

Munich-based BMW, the world’s biggest luxury car manufacturer, saw sales increase 28 per cent last month.

It delivered 105,177 cars and sport-utility vehicles worldwide in January, up from 82,150 for the same period a year earlier.

The strong sales come as global demand for premium cars accelerates, despite tough trading conditions across much of Europe.

Audi sales in Russia jumped 48.4 per cent in January compared to the same period a year earlier, whilst sales in China rose 32.1 per cent.

Audio sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said: “based on the current order situation, we expect a strong first quarter in 2011.”

BMW experienced a 70.4 per cent increase on January sales in China on the previous year, shifting 20,308 Mini and own-branded cars.

The carmaker’s sales and marketing boss, Ian Roberston, said: “We want to reinforce our global position as the leading supplier of premium automobiles.

“We expect growth rates to remain strong over the next few months.”