Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BMW Expected To Be Top-Selling Luxury Car Maker In 2009

BMW & Babes by Kraft Zone.
BMW AG (BMW.XE) is poised to retain the crown as the world's best-selling luxury car maker in 2009 after it reported an 11% rise in sales at its core brand in November, the latest sign that the market recovery in the premium segment is firming up.

"Since September, sales have been back on the growth track. In November we achieved another substantial increase in our global deliveries. We intend to continue this trend in December," BMW sales chief Ian Robertson said in a statement.

Sales for the BMW brand were 90,383 cars last month, with the revamped Z4 roadster and the flagship 7-series sedan achieving the highest growth rates year-on-year.

Sales of the Z4 soared to 1,760 cars from 706 in November, 2008. The 7-series sedan posted a 57% sales rise to 5,025 cars.

BMW 3-series and 5-series sales were up 3.4% and 3.7% in November at 32,230 and 14,164 vehicles, respectively.

Sales for BMW's compact 1-series models were 16,614 vehicles in November, up 11.7% on the year.

In the January-to-November period, sales for the BMW brand were down 12.8% compared with last year at 963,712 vehicles, reflecting the market woes in the first half of 2009.

Demand for luxury cars contracted sharply towards the end of 2008, causing relatively low comparative figures for last year.

State-backed scrapping incentives, which were introduced in many markets in 2009 to lure customers back into showrooms, revived demand mainly for small and compact cars rather than for big luxury vehicles.

BMW rival Audi AG (NSU.XE) saw global sales grow 8.9% on the year in November to around 82,750 vehicles, driven by rising demand for the compact Q5 sports-utility vehicle and the A5 coupe.

"Our leadership position (in China) is strengthening us. But sales figures in the Americas and Europe are also developing very well," Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said, noting that Audi "exceeded the preceding year's (sales) figures in 42 markets in November."

Audi's January-to-November sales were down 5.4% on the same period last year at around 870,600 vehicles.

Its strong presence in the dynamic Chinese market along with a relatively small footprint in the troubled U.S. market has helped the premium brand of Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE) to narrow the gap to its two larger German peers during the industry's most dramatic downturn in decades.

On Monday, the world's second best-selling luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz reported a 19% sales rise in November to 88,600 cars, fueled by the revamped E-Class and S-Class sedans.

Global sales of the E-Class doubled last month to 15,700 vehicles. The new-generation E-Class was the company's most important launch in 2009. The car is crucial for Mercedes-Benz both in terms of sales volume and revenue per car.

"Additional sales momentum will be generated over the next few weeks by the new E-Class estate, which reached the dealerships Nov. 21 and has been a big hit with customers," Mercedes-Benz sales chief Joachim Schmidt said.

The Stuttgart-based company expects fourth-quarter car sales to be significantly higher year-on-year.

In the January-to-November period, the core brand of Daimler AG (DAI) posted a 11.6% sales decline to 914,700 cars.

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