Is the economic downturn finally slowing and possibly turning around? We see here some early indications of that from car sales along with other economic indicators such as a slowing of the unemployment claims. However, as GM becomes nationalized and Chrysler and Fiat are joining forces, it’s still difficult to get very excited about any potential turn around in the global auto industry given the level of uncertainty.
However, in May has shown to be a little less cruel month for the German car market in terms of global sales. It seems that instead of showing sales declines over the same period last year in the high 20 and 30% range, most of the German carmakers were only down in the low 20th percentile with Audi holding the record for lowest sales decline for May, at 6.1%. BMW and fairing better as well with a 18.1% decline for the BMW brand.
Overall, for the year-to-date, Audi’s sales decline has been marginal at 12.1% compared with the higher 20.9% and 22.3% for BMW and Mercedes Benz, respectively. Audi’s total sales for the month of May were approximately 82,900 units world-wide. To further evidence Audi’s ability to work through these hard times, the brand with 4 rings managed to recognize market growth in significant markets with gains in sales in the Asia-Pacific market, some European sectors and their third consecutive record month in China.
Hit the jump for more on Audi’s figures for May and the official press release
Premium market shares were gained in the U.S. by Audi with an increase to 8.8% of 2 percentage points – impressive considering the U.S. market is largely a shrinking one. In countries such as Switzerland and Italy, Audi posted gains in sales over the same period (January to May) as last year. When asked what was contributing to Audi’s relative stability given the state of the global auto industry, board member of marketing and sales Peter Schwarzenbauer stated that “…demand for our A3, A4 and A5 core models is strong thanks to our range of efficient four- and six-cylinder engines” and went on to say “the new Audi Q5, already a success in both Europe and the United States, is driving sales as well.”
We’re willing to bet, that given the economy and people’s woes with inefficient vehicles, Audi has been able to gain market shares due to the lower displacement engines of the A4 and A3 range as well as the efficient, attractive Q5, still relatively new to the marketplace. This should lend itself well to Audi’s continued work in lightening of future vehicles to gain efficiency and performance. We here at 4Ring Blog think that Audi will be well-positioned to gain further shares of the premium market as the economy begins to turn itself around.
See the full Audi press release below:
02 June 2009
HERNDON, Va. — Audi achieved an 8.8% share of U.S. imported luxury vehicle sales in May, marking another month of significantly improved results despite challenging economic conditions.
The showing for May 2009 meant Audi increased its portion the luxury vehicle market nearly two full percentage points from a year earlier. Audi sales have resulted in similar market share gains in past months.
Audi showed market share strength in both car and SUV sales when compared against the results reported by other imported luxury vehicle manufacturers. Audi cars sales made up 9.6% of the May total in the imported luxury vehicle sector, compared to 8.5% in May 2008. Audi luxury sport-utility vehicle sales soared to 7.3% of that market segment compared to just 2.9% a year earlier. That sizeable gain is largely a result of the strong consumer demand for the new Audi Q5 crossover vehicle and impressive early demand for the Audi Q7 TDI clean diesel models.
Audi sold 7,503 units in May overall. With growing interest in its third full month, the Audi Q5 luxury crossover vehicle surpassed its previous monthly sales record with 1,413 units sold in May. The strong retail demand for the Q5 can also be seen by the quick turnaround in inventory at dealerships throughout the country.
Also continuing its strength in 2009, the Audi A5 sales increased over last year by more than 59.5 percent, due to 716 units sold this May. The A5 has recorded 3,150 total units sold in 2009, surpassing the total sales from 2008 during the same period by 48.4 percent.
“Consumers once again proved that when you offer the right product — sporty, yet sophisticated, design with exceptional dynamic character — sales will follow, no matter the economic headwinds,” said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. “Industry sales this month continue to show that the nation has not yet turned the corner, but I see signs that consumers are interested, as both showroom and internet traffic are up.”
The Audi TDI clean diesel SUV showed promising signs in a limited release during May. The Audi Q7 TDI surpassed 350 sales in May, representing 44 percent of total Q7 sales. Total sales for the Audi Q7 reached 795, which is an 18% increase over last month and the best sales month of 2009 for the model.
Audi recorded 2,839 Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) units sold in May, and has now exceeded 13,358 CPO sales in 2009.
About Audi of America
Audi of America Inc. and its 270 dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. The Audi lineup is one of the freshest in the industry with 23 models, including 12 models launched during model years 2008 and 2009. Audi is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. In selling one million vehicles worldwide in 2008, AUDI AG recorded its 13th consecutive record year for sales growth. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.