BMW tops Mercedes in China for first time this year

BMW Group's core BMW brand outsold German rival Mercedes-Benz in China for the first time this year in September.

BMW said it delivered 56,968 vehicles, a jump of 15 percent from a year earlier. Mercedes’s China sales increased 6.9 percent to 54,632.

BMW Group still lagged Audi in monthly sales in China. With September deliveries advancing 13 percent to 65,767, Audi remained the largest luxury automotive seller for the third month in a row.

In the first three quarters, however, Mercedes still outsold Audi as well as BMW in China. Through September, Mercedes sales rose 13 percent year on year to 500,707 while Audi deliveries jumped 15 percent to 483,001.

BMW brand sales increased 6.7 percent to 439,043 in the same period.

New deals
BMW has secured two important deals in China with local automakers to expand its presence in the world’s largest market.

The automaker signed an agreement with Chinese partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings two weeks ago to raise its stake in their joint venture to 75 percent.

BMW Brilliance, currently a 50-50 partnership between BMW and Brilliance China, builds the 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-series sedans as well as the X1 and X3 crossovers for the BMW brand in the northeast China city of Shenyang.

With BMW Brilliance under its control, BMW plans to boost the joint venture’s annual production capacity to 650,000 vehicles in three to five years, from 400,000 vehicles now.

This year, BMW reached a deal with major Chinese light-truck maker Great Wall Motor to assemble electric vehicles for Mini in the east China city of Zhangjiagang. The new venture is to launch its first product in 2021.