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- 17 Jan 2013
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How Luxury Automakers Performed in 2012


As the North American International Motor Show continues in Detroit, we take a look at how key luxury automakers performed in 2012

Despite prevailing economic pessimism, 2012 proved to be a record year for sales for many luxury auto manufacturers. Within the Volkswagen Group, Audi, Bentley and more-recently-acquired Porsche all achieved record-breaking sales for the period.

The BMW Group cemented itself as the world’s biggest premium car company, with a total of 1,845,186 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles delivered worldwide. Both the BMW and Rolls-Royce brands surpassed previous sales records, achieving balanced sales across all continents.

Few would be surprised to learn that Europe’s new car market shrank in December at its fastest monthly pace since October 2010 (Reuters). But what defied expectations was the performance of the United States, which even outgrew China to become the number one market for Rolls-Royce.

Perhaps this is why 2013 will be the year that Ford and General Motors invest in the revival and expansion of Lincoln and Cadillac respectively, as they seek home market share from their German rivals. We take a closer look at what was a record year in the luxury automotive industry.

At the time of press, global 2012 sales figures for Aston Martin, Cadillac, Ferrari, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln and Maserati had not yet been released.

 Audi unit sales increased 11.7% 


Units: 1,455,100
Growth: 11.7% on 2011

VW’s Audi achieved record sales in 2012, surpassing its annual target announced in mid-2012 of 1.4 million cars thanks to strong growth rates in North America and Asia. It was Audi’s second-highest jump in sales in the history of the company.

“In 2012, Audi achieved new record totals in every region worldwide, including in Europe," explained board member Luca de Meo. "We managed to buck the negative market trend and continued to grow there, extending our lead as the strongest premium brand.”

Read More: Volkswagen Group

 BMW unit sales increased 11.6% 


Units: 1,540,085
Growth: 11.6% on 2011

BMW achieved record sales growth in 2012, and was the biggest selling luxury car brand by unit. The BMW 3-Series was its best performer, rising 5.8% to a total of 406,752 vehicles, followed by the 5-Series, up 9% to 337,929 vehicles.

BMW is targeting its third straight sales record in 2013, according to Bloomberg. The German auto-maker will soon introduce the 4-Series, a coupe based on the 3-Series line, as well as the BMW i3, the carmaker’s first electric vehicle.

Read More: BMW Group

 Bentley Motors unit sales increased 22% 

Bentley Motors (VW)

Units: 8,510
Growth: 22% on 2011

VW’s Bentley Motors announced the delivery of 8,510 cars in 2012, maintaining its position as the leading manufacturer of luxury vehicles in the world. Deliveries were up in every international region as Bentley increased its global sales network by 10%.

“2012 has been an excellent year for Bentley,” remarked chairman Wolfgang Schreiber. "We expect the luxury market in 2013 to continue to be challenging but, with significant new model introductions, we believe we have the potential to maintain growth throughout the year.”

Read More: Volkswagen Group

 Jaguar Land Rover unit sales grew 30% 

Jaguar Land Rover

Units: 357,773
Growth: 30% on 2011

Jaguar Land Rover, a subsidiary of Tata Motors, also reported record sales in 2012 selling close to 358,000 vehicles during the year, an increase of 30% over 2011. The increase was pushed by Land Rover, which achieved growth of 36%, selling 303,926 vehicles. Jaguar increased sales 6% to 53,847.

“Our vision is to be a significant global player in the premium market,” explained Phil Popham, Jaguar Land Rover’s sales chief, at an event the evening before the start of the Detroit Auto Show. “We will increase our sales across all our regions quite significantly.”

Read More: Wall Street Journal

 Lamborghini unit sales grew 30% 


Units: 2,083
Growth: 30% on 2011

Lamborghini sales grew 30% to 2,083, driven by the on-going performance of the Gallardo (1,161 units), its most successful model ever. Sales were also greatly increased by the first full year of sales for the Aventador, which achieved 922 units in 2012.

The U.S. remains the single biggest market for Lamborghini, which grew at a rate of 53% in just one year. After the U.S., China was the second biggest market, accounting for 15% of sales, while Europe, despite major economic headwinds, still accounted for 29 percent of Lamborghini sales, according to Motor Authority.

Read More: Motor Authority

 Mercedes Benz unit sales grew by 4.7% 

Mercedes Benz

Units: 1,320,097
Growth: 4.7%

Mercedes-Benz has posted a new sales record in 2012, achieving the highest December sales to date in the company history. The brand achieved sales records in the U.S., China and numerous other markets, market leadership in Japan and sales growth in Western Europe.

“Despite the difficult market environment in the southern European countries and numerous model change-overs, we managed to exceed the previous year’s sales record," revealed Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler. "Our new models in particular were received extremely well by our customers and our new SUVs are also enjoying lasting popularity.”

Read More: Daimler

 Porsche unit sales grew 18.7% 


Units: 141,075
Growth: 18.7%

Porsche AG, which became a Volkswagen Group brand on August 1, 2012, sold more sports cars in 2012 than ever before, beating its own 2011 record by 18.7%. Over the past three years, the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer has increased the number of vehicles delivered to customers by 83.9%.

Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board Sales and Marketing, highlighted: “2012 was an outstanding year for Porsche: for every model and in every region. In 2013 we will carry forward our product offensive with the launch of our new hybrid vehicles, such as the 918 Spyder, and of our new Macan SUV.”

Read More: Volkswagen Group

 Rolls-Royce unit sales grew by 1% 


Units: 3,575
Growth: 1%

BMW Group’s Rolls-Royce sold the most vehicles in its 108-year history, as the U.S overtook China as the brand’s biggest market. Whilst global sales only rose 1%, they increased by 26% in the Middle East and 18% in Asia Pacific, aided by customisation and market specific models.

Demand for all Phantom and Ghost variants was strong. Phantom Series II was unveiled in March at the Geneva Motor Show to worldwide acclaim and production has been increased at the company’s Goodwood manufacturing plant to cope with customer demand. Bespoke sales in 2012 reached record levels.

Read More: BMW Group

To further investigate the luxury automotive industry on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- 8 Trends That Defined The Luxury Industry in 2012
- How the Luxury Industry is Really Performing in the Face of Crisis
- 2012’s Best Global Luxury Brands