German luxury carmakers gain from UK auto sales boom

Article by Christian A., on July 28, 2014

There is a current boom in auto sales in the United Kingdom, and the ones benefitting from it the most are luxury carmakers from Germany. The UK car market is traditionally dominated by volume carmakers like Ford and General Motors' Vauxhall, but it looks like an expanding lineup containing more fuel-efficient vehicles have enabled Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz to capture sales and market share from them, analysts say.

Car sales in the country surged 11 percent to 1.29 million in the first half and 6 percent in June. That marks 28th consecutive month of growth after UK recovered from 2008-2009 financial crisis. Likewise, the UK has become Europe’s second-largest car market after Germany, surpassing France.

German premium brands are driving sales in smaller car segments traditionally ruled by mass-market carmakers, even adding more offerings. Mercedes will add the GLA crossover; BMW will introduce the 2-series Active Tourer compact minivan; while Audi recently rolled out a sedan version of its A3 compact.

The three German premium carmakers all increased market share in the first half, combining for a little more than 17 percent.

According to Jonathon Poskitt, LMC Automotive’s head of European sales forecasting, helping increase sales of premium cars in the US are factors like heighten consumer confidence, recovering UK economy, and a wider choice of models. He remarked that a greater feeling of wealth means that customers will increasingly seek to purchase more expensive badges.

Andre Konsbruck, Audi’s UK chief, remarked to Automotive News Europe that fuel-efficient versions of the A4, A5 and A6 cars – marketed under the Ultra badge -- are “attracting considerable attention” from fleet buyers, adding that demand for the brand in the country has “never been greater."

Fleet sales account for a just over half of all new-car sales in the UK, with CO2 figures the main factor in consumers choice. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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