2023 was the best year ever for BMW after sales rose by 7.3% to 2,253,835 cars. The impressive volume achieved was big enough for the Bavarian marque to proclaim an early victory in the luxury sales race even before numbers from archrival Mercedes. The three-pointed star has yet to share how it fared last year, but we do know how Audi performed in the last 12 months.
With approximately 1.9 million vehicles sold in 2023, Audi trailed behind BMW by over 350,000 units. That’s not to say the Four Rings had a bad last year. On the contrary, shipments blossomed by over 17% compared to 2022. The strong demand was fueled by models such as the BMW X3-rivaling Audi Q5 with 332,000 units, the 5 Series-rivaling A6 with 267,000 units, and the 3 Series-rivaling A4 with 237,000 units.
Audi Sport, the separate branch responsible for performance vehicles, shipped about 48,000 cars in 2023 when BMW M GmbH delivered 202,530 cars. However, the M division also includes sales of M Performance cars whereas Audi Sport doesn’t take into account S cars as only the RS models are considered, along with the now-defunct TT RS and R8.
As far as electric vehicles are concerned, the Ingolstadt-based luxury marque saw its EV sales jump by 51% to over 178,000 units. BMW finished considerably ahead of Audi as shipments of zero-emission cars increased by 92.2% to 330,596 units.
Audi hopes to narrow the gap with the Q6 E-Tron launching this year when it also plans to introduce all-new cars with combustion engines and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The new A4 is scheduled for a 2024 release and will transition to the A5 moniker, leaving A4 for a future electric model. Audi is updating its nomenclature by using even numbers for EVs and odd numbers for ICE cars. Consequently, the A6 replacement with gasoline and diesel engines will become the A7.
Audi will launch its final ICE models in 2025, with every new car coming from 2026 to be an EV. By 2032, the VW Group premium brand intends to end global production of cars equipped with combustion engines. In China, it could be extended until 2033, depending on local demand. BMW has not set a cutoff date for conventionally powered vehicles.