Bmw-Audi battle moves to China as the country replaces Germany as No. 1 luxury market

Article by Anita Panait, on December 21, 2011

China has become a haven for luxury cars this year, overtaking Germany as the number two market but still behind the top market, the U.S.  According to an automotive sales analyst, the carmakers are expected to reach 939,000 luxury units in China this year, compared to 914,000 units in Germany.

China’s craving for luxury cars may also increase by 16 percent in 2012, compared to Germany’s 4.4 percent. This near stagnant growth could well be attributed to Germany’s current debt crisis, while Europe is expected to suffer from the recession for the first half of 2012. Meanwhile, China is getting more prosperous, spiking the demand for luxury items like expensive cars.

Luxury carmakers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which is owned by Daimler, have posted a significant increase in 11-month sales in China. Audi grew 35% to 283,000 units, BMW hiked 40% to 200,699 and Mercedes rose 31% to 170,000. Audi, which recently surpassed Daimler as world number two luxury carmaker, is relying on its China sales to topple BMW from the top by 2015.

BMW's 3-Series Sedan has pioneered the compact sports sedan class and has even come to represent the carmaker's sporting capability, dynamics and aesthetic appeal. Elegant yet dynamic lines help showcase the athletic character of this mid-size vehicle, which also happens to be the 6th model generation of the best-selling premium car in the world.

But while the new 3-Series grew in every dimension compared to its predecessor, the new car has maintained a good balance of elegance and athleticism. The sedan’s dynamic proportions, just like in the previous generations, are influenced by its sweeping bonnet, its long wheelbase, its short front overhand, and its set-back greenhouse.

New 3-Series has a wedge-shaped silhouette, as well as a wider track, with an additional 37 mm at the front and 47 mm at the rear. These, along with the accentuated width and the front end’s multi-faceted surfaces, underline the new BMW’s sporty look. The new 3-Series’ stance is emphasized by the upright and slightly forward-leaning BMW kidney grille that comes with a wide and squat interpretation.

The car has LED accent lights looking like eyebrows above the twin xenon headlights that sport corona rings, giving its focused appearance an added intensity. In addition, these headlights extend up to the kidney grille’s frame, with the two merging into a single stylish feature and adding more emphasis to the broad-set stance of the car.

Furthermore, the 3-Series has replaced its predecessor’s central air intake with double larger intakes that are set under the headlights to the front end’s outer edges, adding more depth to its athletic style. There are also small vertical intakes on the far right and far left of the main ducts, helping create what is called the “Air Curtain.” The Air Curtain is a new technology that is designed to improve the air flow around the wheels at front and to enhance the car’s aerodynamic efficiency as well as reduce the consumption of fuel higher speeds.

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Topics: bmw, audi, china, sales

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