Scanning the SMMT’s UK sales figures for so-called premium automakers this morning, I continue to be amazed at the huge presence Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have in the United Kingdom.
Clearly, these automakers position themselves very differently in Europe than they do in North America, not just with entry-level models like the Audi A1 but low-power, low-price, low-equipment diesel variants of their core models like the BMW 3-Series.
They’re not premium or luxury in Europe so much as they are volume, mainstream, everyday blue jeans brands with a penchant for selling high-end Bentley alternatives. (Bentley sales are up 53% to 580 units in the UK in 2014.)
For the record, Audi reportedly sold 56,724 vehicles in the UK so far this year, a 16% year-over-year increase. This places the brand 16,137 sales back of parent brand Volkswagen, the third-ranked brand (behind Ford and Vauxhall.)
Volkswagen owns 8.4% of the market; Audi 6.6%. BMW volume is up 20% to 48,421. Mercedes-Benz volume is up 16% to 42,535, making the three-pointed star the seventh-ranked brand, behind Nissan but ahead of Peugeot, Toyota, and Citroen, the three remaining members of the top ten.