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VFACTS: Germans make big inroads in 2014

Bonus sales: Mercedes-Benz’s new front-wheel-drive CLA sedan helped the German marque secure a 15.8 per cent jump in sales last year.

German luxury marques ride record sales into Australian vehicle market heartland

VFACTS logo6 Jan 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

GERMAN luxury car companies conquested Australian car sales at record levels last year, wooing buyers with more affordable models and ever-broader ranges.

According to official VFACTS sales data, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi all racked up record sales in Australia in 2014, with much of the growth coming from buyers deserting traditional mainstream brands for the lure of a European badge.

In an overall market down 2.0 per cent for the year, Mercedes-Benz’s sales climbed 15.8 per cent, BMW’s rose 10.7 per cent and Audi’s soared 20.1 per cent.

Models such as Mercedes’ new GLA compact SUV, A-Class hatch and CLA sedan, BMW’ s new 2 Series and 4 Series ranges and Audi’s expanded A3 line-up drew a host of buyers new to the German marques.

Mercedes-Benz continued to rule the roost, almost cracking the top 10 in Australian vehicle sales last year with a record 31,895 units and 2.9 per cent slice of the Australia new-vehicle market.

Even when subtracting Mercedes’ commercial vehicle sales to even the ledger with BMW and Audi which do not offer trucks and vans, Mercedes still dominated, with 27,121 sales.

Thanks largely to the arrival of the GLA small SUV during the year, Mercedes’ SUV sales leapt 43.8 per cent, while its passenger car volumes increased more than 12 per cent, largely on the back of a heft boost in A-Class sales and the arrival of the new CLA sedan.

The debut of the all-new C-Class in the second half of the year was the icing on the cake for the three-pointed star brand, with the mid-sized luxury car capturing both the luxury car sales crown and a number of media awards.

BMW chipped away with a number of new models in 2014, culminating with the arrival of the 2 Series Active Tourer – its first front-wheel-drive model – late in the year.

The Munich brand’s growth was an even 10 per cent across both SUV and passenger car ranges, unlike Audi whose growth came exclusively from its passenger cars.

Sales of Audi’s popular A3 more than doubled in 2014, boosted by the arrival of the sedan and convertible variants.

Its top-selling SUV, the Q5 mid-sizer, also had a sales lift, up 12.7 per cent, helping Audi to notch up its 10th consecutive year of growth.

Luxury sportscar-maker Porsche also smashed records, selling 2813 new vehicles – up by almost half on 2013’s 1905 units.

Much of the rise came from the new Macan SUV that arrived in June, adding exactly 800 sales to the Porsche tally in six months.

While the Germans were making hay in the Australian sunshine, Japan’s leading luxury exponent, Lexus, secured a neat 7000 sales in 2014 – up 1.2 per cent on the previous year.

This growth was almost exclusively due to two new models – the latest ES large sedan and the first compact SUV from Toyota’s luxury arm, the NX.

The latter contributed 416 sales to the Lexus tally, even though it arrived only late in the year.

Sweden’s Volvo slipped backwards in 2014, with sales topping out at 4693 vehicles – down 9.3 per cent.

Its top seller was again the XC60 medium SUV, which accounted for 1519 Volvo sales.

Britain’s Jaguar crept up to the tune of 5.6 per cent, to 1167 vehicles, while sister company Land Rover enjoyed a hike in Range Rover Sport (up 80 per cent) sales to clock up a 21 per cent overall sales gain (10,106).

In the rarefied end of the market, Rolls-Royce more than doubled its annual output, to 39 vehicles, while Maserati also shifted a record number of cars (401, up 199 per cent).

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