For the last seven years, BMW has had a stranglehold on the top spot in the luxury car market. That reign is in danger of coming to and end, as Audi sales are on the rise. According to an Automotive News Europe report, Audi cut the difference in sales between itself and BMW to only 2,110 vehicles sold so far this year.

Analysts point to the growth of the A-class vehicle segment, and Audi's established presence in that market in the form of the A3. Bolstered by products like the redesigned A3, Audi sold 108,100 total units in the month of August, compared to BMW's 102,730.

This time last year, BMW had a lead of more than 40,000 on Audi. But The upstart from Ingolstadt is finally seeing tangible results of a 20 billion ($25.6 billion) investment in research and development by the Volkswagen Group. Since 2003, the luxury brand has doubled its vehicle portfolio, adding the Q7, Q5, and R8, and new vehicles such as the A1 subcompact and Q3 compact crossover.

Audi overtook Mercedes-Benz in 2011, leaving only BMW in its sights. According to the report, Audi's intent is to supplant BMW as the top premium brand by the year 2020.

Another factor in Audi's success has been its sales in China, where BMW hasn't been quite so quick to develop a strong market presence.

With 961,000 vehicles sold through eight months, Audi could very likely eclipse its 2011 sales totals of 1.3 million units. Will it be enough to surpass BMW? Only time will tell.


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  • 120 Comments
      sjmoo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't think it is really a question of whether Audi will get the #1 spot, but more why they want it? Both BMW and Audi are on an incentive binge to try to nab that spot. It would seem to me that slightly lower sales and bigger profits would be the better business model.
      Victoria
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would take a Mercedes before a BMW anytime. Though, I wouldn't throw away a BMW...
      ChrisD
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe BMW should concentrate on making great cars again (the original M3 and M5) and not worry about where they are as far as sales rankings. My first car was my dad's 4 year old 81 320i, my first NEW car was 85 325e that my parents purchased for me at high school graduation. My wife and I purchased a new 1999 323i, a 2002 X5 and a 2007 X3. The X3 was our last BMW purchase and until they really do something special that will not change. We are going to lease a A7 in November and while we did look at the new 3 and 5 series they didn't even make the final list.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW no longer focuses on making cars only for enthusiasts.The new 5 Series for example has been softened quite a bit.
      Richard
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think in response BMW should raise prices, lower lease payments, and artificially support resale values through their CPO porgram......oh wait they alrady have been doing that for 10+ years...ok, how about a promotional tie in with Armani Exchange?
        telm12345
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Richard
        BMWs and Armani... my douchebag nightmare has come true!
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's interesting that Audi is closing in on taking over the top sales slot. Unlike all of the other top makers they are not selling a predominantly RWD car line. They are mostly FWD/AWD. It wasn't long ago that Audi was dismissed as being a top tier luxury marque because they did not have a direct RWD challenger to all of the BMWs. It seems like times might be changing, and RWD is not the be all end all for premium luxury.
        Jim
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        RWD offers less advantages for luxury vehicle. FWD allows for more interior space which is more important for occupants. While the RWD layout does have better weight distribution and driving dynamics the majority of people who buy these cars probably dont even know what a differential is and almost never push the car far enough to feel the merits of a RWD car.
      FIDTRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi is already #1 in China and Europe. There's another world outside of the USA for those of you who always seem to forget.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Autoblog, can you please stop calling BMW, Audi and Mercedes "luxury" car makers. I'm sorry, but just because they put a 240hp engine in their cars don't make them "luxury"
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        [blocked]
      theblackemblem
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW, you deserve it.
      Wes Mantooth
      • 2 Years Ago
      bmw has no cost maintenance first 3 years. audi continually has the highest total cost of ownership of all major luxury brands. consumers leave me dumbfounded
        adam1keith1980
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wes Mantooth
        Actually, KBB hands out inaugural Total Cost of Ownership awards to Kia, Audi. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/02/09/kbb-hands-out-inaugural-total-cost-of-ownership-awards-to-kia-a/ BMW's free maintenance is so minimal that their cars develop problems after warranties end.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @adam1keith1980
          [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        MJC
        • 2 Years Ago
        Wake up and look at the quality/reliability ratings for the current generation of any Audi model. They are quite good, and exceed BMW in some cases.
          Justin Campanale
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MJC
          Look up the latest JD Survey. Audi was ranked higher than many American brands.
          Justin Campanale
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MJC
          Look up the latest JD Survey. Audi was ranked higher than many American brands.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        So because you like your obsolete BMW no one should buy Audi? Is that essentially what you're saying? I also like how you imply AWD is for chickens. You know it has great performance benefits as well. Shocking. But oh well, pull up in your 15 year old BMW next to a GTR and ask them if they care if you think they're a chicken because they're car is AWD. Frankly, I'm not sure how they're great exterior and interior design and someone reading online that they have reliability are enough to steer people into the BMW showroom.
      PatrickH
      • 2 Years Ago
      A large amount of Audi's vehicles are underpinned by VW platforms and are FWD based. For these reasons I will never consider them on the same level as BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar.
        Golden009
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PatrickH
        Idiot. Both BMW and Mercedes now have front wheel drive platforms for the entry level cars because it makes sense from a packaging standpoint. Only the A3/A1/TT have direct platform sharing with VW. Get your facts straight.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PatrickH
        [blocked]
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