China and SUV sales fuel robust German auto results

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German premium auto manufacturers are having a bumper year, though the leader BMW noted Thursday that deliveries could begin to dip somewhat following record results in June.

After setting an all-time high of 165,855 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce sales last month, BMW sales director Ian Roberston acknowledged that "we do anticipate a somewhat slower rate of growth in the second half of the year."

The group set a six-month sales record of 833,366 vehicles, a gain of 19.7 percent from the first half of 2010, a statement added.

BMW sold 134,432 of its own-brand cars in June to remain the top selling luxury brand worldwide.

Daimler said it sold almost 131,000 Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars last month, an annualised gain of nearly 6.5 percent, and 610,500 vehicles in the first six months of the year to post an increase of 9.7 percent.

The second quarter saw record sales of nearly 330,000 autos, the result of growing demand in emerging economies led by China, along with sustained demand in the United States.

Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen, delivered 99,263 vehicles in June, an increase of 18.5 percent on the year.

It sold 652,950 cars to customers in the first half of the year, a gain of 17.7 percent from the same period of 2010.

"The first half of the year was clearly better than we had expected - above all thanks to a strong performance in European markets," a statement quoted sales director Peter Schwarzenbauer as saying.

Audi said sales of its sports utility vehicles were significantly stronger, and BMW added that deliveries of its X3 SUV more than doubled in the first half of the year.

© 2011 AFP

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