(Reuters) - Audi (VOWG_p.
DE) posted another double-digit sales gain in April even as its product cycle has peaked, keeping German rival Mercedes-Benz (DAIGn.DE) with refreshed models at bay.
Deliveries at the Volkswagen-owned brand rose 11.6 percent to 149,050 autos, the fourth-strongest rate of increase in the past 15 months, extending the year-to-date tally to 561,900, the world's No. 2 luxury carmaker said on Thursday.
That compares with a 14.2 percent rise to 133,077 cars in April at Mercedes which is boasting a spate of redesigned models to recoup ground after dropping to third place in luxury sales rankings behind Audi in 2011.
"Such strong growth rates are positively surprising," said Frankfurt-based Commerzbank analyst Sascha Gommel. "Audi's model range is relatively old compared with Mercedes and BMW."
Besides the newly-revamped A3 compact line, April volume was driven by the Q3 compact SUV and the A4 and A6 station wagons, all of which have been selling in core European markets for more than 2.5 years.
"We continue to beat our own targets with the strong result in April that builds on first-quarter double-digit growth," Audi sales chief Luca de Meo said.