Each member of the Teutonic triumvirate – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – is battling to be the world's Number One luxury maker. BMW has won the title for the past seven years running, but Audi CEO Rupert Stadler (shown above) has told Reuters that as of "2020 at the latest" his company will overtake BMW. That sounds quite soon, but it's actually a less aggressive target date than it once was: Stadler had previously planned on 2015 being the year when Audi sold more cars than its German foes, and although its sales trend and profits are strong, overall weakness in the market has put some flexibility into that date.

There's also the issue of Mercedes, since it has the very same plan: At the beginning of this year Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said his company would be Number One by 2020 with a predicted annual sales of 2.7 million cars. Backing him up, Germany's Center for Automotive Research says Mercedes – which dropped to third last year – could move back to number two by 2015, ahead of Audi but still behind BMW. Audi had targeted 1.5 million sales for 2015 and might reach that milestone sooner, but that number – which is less than CAR's prediction of Audi sales in 2015 – would still leave it in third.

The strategies of all three include more vehicles in more segments, such as BMW with its UKL platform plans and Mercedes with its A- and B-Class variants and AMG portfolio expansion, and BMW has tied up with Toyota while Mercedes is dancing with Nissan. Audi is going it alone, if being part of the Volkswagen empire can be called "alone," and its efforts include new crossover models like the Q2 and Q6, though plans for a North American factory are still swirling.

That's a lot of punches being thrown; in 2020, we'll know whose punches hit hardest with buyers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      What is with this obsession about being #1? Be the best, not the biggest.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @th0mb0ne
        [blocked]
          th0mb0ne
          • 2 Years Ago
          so basically you were terrible?
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Jesus!
          • 2 Years Ago
          Keep it clean man. This is Autoblog. Not Fantasyblog.
        Carbon Fibre
        • 2 Years Ago
        @th0mb0ne
        Agreed in a totality. Quality =|= Quantity
      over9000
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi doesn't have the reliability and rich history/prestige as Mercedes. I don't think it's going to happen.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @over9000
        [blocked]
          Spellchecker
          • 2 Years Ago
          "Audi has a racing history that Mercedes can't hold a candle to." Huh? HUH? H U H ? Mercedes has a rich racing heritage. More than Audi by far.
        ImportantFacts
        • 2 Years Ago
        @over9000
        Audi has already surpassed Mercedes, as the article states : / I have owned both Audi and BMW...never an Old Man Mercedes, ha ha (ride is WAY too soft and steering way too disconnected from driver). Audi is an enthusiast's automobile. One that still offers a stick shift in a sports sedan. I switched to Audi from BMW when I tired of BMW's little "nits:" rattles and electrical issues, etc. Plus an Audi says, "intelligent sports/luxury." A BMW says, "I don't know anything about sports cars. I leased this car to look rich to people in my plastic house subdivision."
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Quality is more important than quantity.
      carnut122
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi must be working under the old Russian "5 year plan" (which also never got met).
      MacProMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      no take backs, sorry... FAIL
      Johnny Ng
      • 2 Years Ago
      LOL. Has this clown heard of the Japanese powerhouses? Acura, Infiniti and Lexus whoop Audi in every single way known to man.
        John Ward
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        I have no idea what the japanese manufacturers have been doing but they are putting out some seriously ugly and performance lacking cars.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        [blocked]
        Pdexter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        I'm sure he has, it's just that at the current rate they are not much to talk about.
      Calvin L Miller Jr
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Indubitably and lexus lacks the performance the german brands offer. @th0mb0ne - This is a business, its about sales and BMW is worth a hell of alot more than audi is. If your the "best" and you can't move product you go out business.
        Indubitably
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Calvin L Miller Jr
        Not really... the new IS-F is much improved. Also, there are rumors that they are working on a GS-F. Additionally, ever heard of the LFA?
          adam1keith1980
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Indubitably
          And testers already say the new GS drives better than the new 5-series.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Calvin L Miller Jr
        [blocked]
      Indubitably
      • 2 Years Ago
      All they need to do is engineer Lexus reliability and their set. It seems to be the only thing German automakers lack.
        adam1keith1980
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Indubitably
        The last thing I want is a luxury car that lasts beyond the lease term. I don’t want some poser wearing a wife beater driving the same brand/model as me. /sarcasm
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Indubitably
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      Black Dynamite 2.0
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey, I got an idea, Audi. Why don't you shut up! BD
      brgtlm
      • 2 Years Ago
      How about making sure that you're great cars don't start falling apart after the warranty coverage ends....
      automan5913
      • 2 Years Ago
      Who says Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes are luxury brands? NONSENSE! None of those brands has the ride and luxury of a standard -- not a limo -- Lincoln Town Car!
      John Ward
      • 2 Years Ago
      A6 > 535 already.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Ward
        [blocked]
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