German luxury carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz continue to lure customers away from mass-market automakers, thanks to their small car offerings. During a period of six years, the BMW brand managed to up its market share from 4 percent to 5 percent; Audi from 4 percent to 6 percent; the Mercedes brand from 4.5 percent to 5 percent.
On the other hand, volume carmakers like PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, General Motors and Ford have each lost more than 2 percentage points of market share in the six-year period when the European vehicle market was dropping. BMW, Audi and Mercedes were able to gain market shares by offering smaller cars.
BMW Group even managed to surpass Fiat Group's market share in Europe for the first time. Peter Fuss, a partner at consultant Ernst & Young, remarked that luxury carmakers have invaded the compact and small-car segment, with many customers willing to “pay a little more to buy a luxury car."
Mercedes posted a 6-percent surge in European sales in the first eight months of 2013 thanks to strong demand for new small cars such as the A-class hatchback, B class and CLA four-door coupe. The carmaker also logged a 9-percent hike in European sales in August while the regional market dove 5 percent.
Mercedes, which currently has 23 models in its lineup, is planning to introduce 13 all-new vehicles in the next eight years. The BMW brand, meanwhile, saw its August deliveries soar 9 percent, thanks to a Gran Turismo version of the 3-series sedan introduced this year. BMW currently has 21 models in its lineup while Audi has 46 vehicles.