According to data from CBU Analytics, the premium brand passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs and MPVs) accounted for 9.13 percent of the total PV registration volume in 2012, up from 7.85 percent in 2011, but stayed at around 9 percent for the next few years. Due to the sales slump of small-displacement vehicles in H1 2017, the premium brand PVs took 11.35 percent of the total PV registration volume. Although the high market share won’t sustain, the Audi A3, launched in February, the locally-produced BMW 1 Series, and the locally-produced Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan which is expected to hit the market in 2018 will squeeze the space of JV brands.
China registered 1.15 million premium brand passenger vehicles in H1 2017, up 18.01 percent despite the overall slump of the total passenger vehicle registration volume. About two-thirds of the premium brand vehicles registered were locally produced. In June, premium brand PV registration volume reached 204,523 units, up 15.78 percent on a yearly basis.
In the first half of 2017, Mercedes-Benz registration volume reached 295,739 units, up 35.17 percent, powered by the C-Class’ 20.97 percent growth, GLC’s 43.93 percent growth and 123.96 percent growth of the new generation of the E-Class Long Wheelbase. BMW sales increased 18.61 percent to 248,292 units, following the 252,222 units registered by Audi, and the locally-produced BMW 3 Series Long Wheelbase increased 9.60 percent to 60,043 units. However, Audi’s registration volume decreased 11.69 percent with all models experiencing negative growth.
In the first six months of the year, combined registration volume of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW reached 796,253 units, accounting for 70 percent of the premium vehicle market. The top 10 bestselling premium models were all from the German trio of “ABB”: three each came from Mercedes-Benz and BMW and four from Audi. For the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz obtained its leading positon in half a year and left both Audi and BMW far behind.
For the rest of the premium brands, Cadillac sales surged 70.35 percent to 78,083 units powered by 28,720 units of the XT5, 25,112 units of the ATS-L and 19,612 units of the XTS. Jaguar Land Rover sales increased 40.12 percent to 73,480 units, with the F-PACE selling 6,704 units and locally-produced XFL selling 8,686 units. Lincoln sales reached 23,653 units, up 91.93 percent. Acura sales surged 277.39 percent to 5,808 units powered by the locally-produced Acura CDX with 5,257 units registered. Tesla sales reached 5,648 units, up 106.96 percent, with Model X selling 3,317 units.
However, sales of the French “luxury” brand DS kept dropping with sales of only 3,166 units, down 62.58 percent. Volkswagen’s “premium” model, the Phideon, produced at SAIC-Volkswagen, had registration volume of 1,879 units. Sales of Alfa Romeo, which entered the Chinese market with Giulia and Stelvio this year, reached 961 units, with Giulia accounting for the bulk (958 units). Although Alfa Romeo needs time to adapt to the Chinese market, it has potential to become a popular brand in China.
Combined registration volume of premium brands other than “ABB” increased 36.21 percent to 351,383 units in the first half of 2017, faster than the growth of “ABB” and accounted for 30 percent of total premium brand PV registration volume.
For sales of super luxury brands in H1 2017, Maserati surged 142.08 percent to 7,887 units thanks to the Levante, the brand’s first SUV, which sold 4,566 units.