Luxury cars still selling fast in new markets

Marion Dakers
BMW and Audi both posted record-breaking annual sales yesterday as demand for high-end marques in emerging markets continued to drive growth.

Germany’s BMW reported sales of 1.845m vehicles in the year, a rise of 10.6 per cent.

All three of its brands – BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce – delivered increases during the year.

Rolls-Royce enjoyed the best-selling year of its 108-year history, delivering 3,575 cars as global clamour for the heritage brand continued.

However, the pace of growth slowed to one per cent, as chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos pointed to a “hesitation” from Chinese customers.

For the group, Asia overtook the Americas to become its second-biggest market after the region bought 491,512 vehicles, a rise of 31.6 per cent.

“We enter the new year with positive momentum and despite the prevailing headwinds in some markets, we aim to achieve another record year in sales in 2013,” said sales and marketing board member Ian Robertson.

According to KPMG’s annual industry survey out this week, BMW and Audi parent Volkswagen are the two firms most likely to gain global market share in the next five years – the only companies based in Western nations to feature in its top ten.

Audi yesterday said it sold 1.455m cars last year, a rise of 11.7 per cent.

It said Europe was doing well, with UK sales up 7.2 per cent, but Asia had been the main source of expansion.

Bentley, also owned by Volkswagen, posted 22 per cent growth as it delivered 8,510 cars. Customers in the Americas were the most prolific buyers of Bentleys, taking 2,457 cars in the year, closely followed by China with 2,253.