Mercedes moves up to second while Audi falls from first to third

BMW is in the last stages of taking victory in China as the top-selling luxury brand in 2017, narrowly edging out rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Through November 2017, the Bavarian automaker has sold 542,362 units in China, barely a hair over Mercedes, which has sold 539,728 units in the same time frame. For its part, Audi fell from being the top-seller in China to third on the list with 528,706 sold units in 2017.

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Through November 2017, the Bavarian automaker has sold 542,362 units in China

If you want to see how competitive the automotive market has become in China, this is the race you want to watch. Audi has been entrenched as the top-selling luxury car brand in the market for several years now. But the German automaker met controversy earlier this year for planning to launch a second distribution channel in China, angering dealerships who prompted to boycott the brand until the Audi canceled the controversial plan. That little blip was more than enough for BMW and Mercedes-Benz to usurp Audi from its lofty position.

Let’s be clear, however. This race is far from finished because sales from this month are still ongoing. We’re not going to find out the final results until sometime in January. That means Mercedes can still overtake BMW if it manages to outsell its rival in the last month of the year. It’s unlikely that it does so if you look at their respective sales numbers in November. In that month, BMW sold 55,293 vehicles in China, almost 5,000 more than Mercedes, which finished the month with 50,813 units sold. Audi has rebounded nicely from its mid-year controversy, registering 56,028 units sold in November.

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Audi could have had a chance to catch up in the race, but with only a month remaining in 2017, it’s probably a little too late for the company to keep its title as the top-selling brand in China. As for Mercedes, it can still beat out BMW for that title, but it’s going to take a mammoth sales effort in December to get the job done. So it looks like it’s BMW’s title to lose at this point. It’s been a great race so far, and it’s clear that these three brands are already preparing for what could be a close race in 2018.

For its part, Bimmer is already taking a number of steps to increase its sales volume in the market. There are already reports that the company is engaged in talks with Great Wall Motor to create a joint venture to produce cars in China for Mini. Likewise, BMW is also launching a car-sharing program in Chengdu that involves a small fleet of i3 models. If BMW does become the top-selling luxury brand in China, you can be sure that Mercedes and Audi will become even more aggressive in pushing their respective products once the calendar flips to 2018.

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Source: Automotive News

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