Audi AG (NSU) trimmed Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s lead in 2012 luxury-car sales to just 2,110 vehicles in August, threatening BMW’s seven-year hold on the top position in premium auto deliveries.
The Volkswagen AG (VOW) luxury brand boosted eight-month sales 13 percent to 961,000 vehicles, compared with BMW’s 7.8 percent increase to 963,110 autos, according to the two companies’ monthly sales reports. BMW, the world’s largest-maker of luxury cars, led by 40,513 vehicles through August of last year.
VW is reaping the benefits from pouring 20 billion euros ($25.6 billion) into research and development at Audi since 2002. The luxury brand now sells 12 model lines, twice what it had in 2003, including three sport-utility vehicles, the A1 compact and the R8 sports car. Audi, which ranks second in premium-vehicle deliveries since overtaking Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz in 2011, has a goal of beating BMW by 2020.
Audi is likely to overtake BMW several years ahead of that target unless “there are surprising shifts in market share which I don’t expect, especially in China,” said Daniel Schwarz, a Frankfurt-based Commerzbank analyst. “They are the strongest growing luxury brand, and they just launched the A3, which is close to being their best-selling car in a peak year.”