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Mercedes grabs early luxe lead, outsells Audi, BMW
Automotive News China | 2018/3/16

Mercedes-Benz's deliveries in China for the first two months rose 17 percent from a year earlier to 111,461 vehicles, topping German luxury rivals Audi and BMW. 

Audi totaled 100,239 sales in January and February, despite a surge of 49 percent from the same period last year. It is recovering from a boycott by dealers who protested its plans in late 2016 to open a second distribution channel in China. Sales plunged until Audi killed its proposal in May.

BMW AG said its sales of BMW and Mini vehicles in China rose 7.5 percent year on year to 89,992, without disclosing separate totals for the brands. 

Vehicle sales in China for the first two months are often combined to compensate for the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated on different dates from year to year. This year, the weeklong holiday was observed from Feb. 15-21. Last year, it ran from Jan. 27-Feb. 2. 

Mercedes, Audi and BMW -- long the largest luxury vehicle sellers in China -- are aggressively expanding production in the country with local partners to meet Chinese consumersí» robust demand. 

Last month, Mercedesí» parent Daimler and its Chinese joint venture BAIC Motor Group Co. announced a plan to invest more than 11.9 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) to build a factory in Beijing and modernize a plant there to build premium Mercedes vehicles including electric vehicles. 

FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co., a partnership between the VW Group and China FAW Group Corp. is to open a second assembly plant in the northeast China city of Changchun in March to ramp up output of the Audi Q5 midsize crossover.

While expanding the production capacity of its partnership with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings in the northeast China city of Shenyang, BMW signed a letter of intent with Great Wall Motor Co. in February on local production of EVs for Mini. 

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