Audi claims to have sold 242,400 vehicles through February, up 9.3 percent from last year, compared to 242,017 units from BMW, up 8.9 percent, in the same period. While the advantage is tiny, its implications could be huge because Bimmer has been the leader in the premium car segment for the last nine consecutive years. Mercedes-Benz lags behind them somewhat at 229,630 vehicles through February. According to Bloomberg, at this time last year Audi had sold 429 fewer cars than BMW.
The growth is all part of Volkswagen Group's goal to become the world's largest automaker. It currently ranks in second when its heavy truck businesses are considered. The German automotive giant also wants to be the world's leading premium carmaker. "Competition in the premium segment is more intense than ever," said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler to Bloomberg.
Audi has never held the top spot among premium automakers for an entire year, but it's investing 22 billion euros ($30.5 billion) over the next five years to stay competitive. It unveiled the new TT and S1 at the Geneva Motor Show and is just putting the A3 sedan on sale in the US.
Of course, there's still a lot of time left in the year for things to shake out, and BMW isn't going to give up its lead without a fight. It has the new the X4, 2 Series Active Tourer, refreshed X3 and more on the way. It's quite the German grudge match.