BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, all three German luxury car manufacturers are selling more cars than ever, with BMW becoming the best selling luxury car brand in the world. For the month of August, all three brands have seen increased sales from last August, with Audi leading the way with an increase of 12 percent, while BMW and Mercedes have increased 5.9 and 7.3 percent, respectively.
More and more people are turning to these premium luxury brands instead of buying more mainstream brands, such as Honda or Toyota, nowadays.
In Europe, the three German luxury brands have increased their combined market share to 17 percent in 2014, up from 10 percent two decades ago, according to an Automotive News Europe analysis of sales data from ACEA, the European automakers association. That’s slow but steady progress. Much of this has to do with the vastly increased model lines and less expensive models. “People’s aspirations are much higher these days which, combined with the recent recovery in economic performance, means the premium car segment is much more resilient,” Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member for sales and marketing.
Some may say that this approach to selling luxury cars is diluting their brand image, as lower costing cars and a heavy increase in volume makes them less exclusive and more mainstream. It is a legitimate concern for these automakers, but it’s something that they think they can handle. According to Ola Kaellenius, Daimler board member for Mercedes sales and marketing, “If you deliver a very authentic Mercedes experience in every segment then we are absolutely fine in terms of fulfilling our brand promise”. The same goes for BMW and Audi.
Despite lower entry costs into these brands now, with 2 Series, CLA and A3 models costing in the same ballpark as load Honda Accords, these are still pretty exclusive brands with clear luxury advantages. These models give many customers an affordable and achievable entry level which is supposed to keep them in the brand. So BMW 2 Series customers move up to the 3 Series and so on and so forth. And as long as these cars keep the same core principles as the rest of their lineups, brand image shouldn’t be tarnished. Even with cars like the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.