Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China has bucked the trend to become the only country among mainstream automotive markets to experience growth last year, and luxury brands were the only segment in the nation that witnessed a sales surge, 21st Century Business Herald reported.
Statistics from the China Passenger Car Association showed that a total of 2.53 million luxury vehicles were sold in China last year, up 14.7 percent from 2019, and grabbing a 13 percent of market share among total passenger vehicles.
This also marked the third consecutive year for luxury brands to register growth in the wake of downward pressure in China's overall automotive market. Data showed that in 2018 and 2019 luxury vehicle sales experienced growth of 17.6 percent and 11.7 percent respectively.
Among the brands, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi all posted new record sales numbers since entering the Chinese market, becoming core drivers for growth in the luxury vehicle market.
German carmaker BMW sold 777,400 vehicles (including BMW and MINI-branded) last year, rising 7.4 percent from 2019. Mercedes-Benz, delivered a total of 774,400 new cars, an increase of 11.7 percent year-on-year. Audi set a sales record in China in 2020 with a total of 726,300 vehicles sold, up 5.4 percent year-on-year.
In terms of second-tier luxury brands, Lexus and Porsche continued the upward trend. At the same time, Ford's premium arm Lincoln also made a foray into China and entered the second-tier luxury market.
As the biggest dark horse of the luxury brands, China's iconic sedan brand Hongqi, meaning "red flag," registered a new sales record in 2020, with the number of vehicles manufactured and sold both exceeding 200,000 units.