German luxury carmakers posted record global
sales last year amid soaring demand for premium cars, ranging from
Audi to Rolls-Royce, in the United States, China and the Middle East.
The Munich-based BMW Group said Thursday it saw an 11.6 per cent surge in sales of its flagship brand, with 1.54 million units sold worldwide. In December alone sales jumped 18.8 per cent compared to the previous year.
The company, whose brands includes Mini and Rolls-Royce, said group sales climbed by 10.6 per cent to a record 1.85 million units.
Rolls-Royce achieved the highest sales level in its 108-year history, with 3,575 cars sold in 2012, 1 per cent more than the previous year.
BMW rival Audi, part of the Volkswagen Group, said it sold 1.45 million units last year, marking a 12 per cent hike in sales.
Stuttgart-based Mercedes Benz has also reported its best ever annual sales last week. The company said deliveries were up 4.5 per cent to 1.423 million.
"We enter the new year with positive momentum and despite the prevailing headwinds in some markets, we aim to achieve another record year in sales in 2013," said BMW sales chief Ian Robertson.
"This year marks the beginning of a new era for the BMW Group, as we launch the all-electric BMW i3 towards the end of the year."
BMW Group sales in Asia soared by 31.6 per cent last year, powered by a 40.4-per-cent increase in China over the previous year, the carmaker said.
About a quarter of Audi's overall 2012 global sales was generated in China, where it increased by 30 per cent, the company said. China is now Audi's biggest single market.
In the US, BMW group sales climbed by 13.8 per cent to 347,583 units and Audi by about one fifth.
Despite Europe's long-running debt crisis, sales in BMW's biggest market gained 0.8 per cent in 2012. Audi posted a 1.8-per-cent gain in Europe.
In London, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said 2012 had seen a "fascinating" recovery of the market in the US, which had overtaken China to regain top position on the regional league table.
Sales of luxury Rolls-Royce models to the Middle East grew by 26 per cent, while Europe saw an increase of 21 per cent, and 18 per cent more cars were sold to the Asia-Pacific region.
"We had an outstanding year in spite of the challenges we faced, and Rolls-Royce now leads the ultra luxury market by some considerable margin," said Mueller-Oetvoes.
The majority of cars, including the popular Phantom and Ghost models, had been sold with some elements of bespoke personalization, reflecting record demand for the company's "legendary hand-craftsmanship and attention to detail."
Rolls-Royce remained a "great British brand," with every model produced "a piece of art," its chief executive said.
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