The pecking order at the top of the global premium segment for 2019 remained the same as 2018, with the two German powerhouses – Mercedes-Benz and BMW – announcing best-ever annual sales achievements amidst modest year-to-year growth, with BMW narrowing the gap slightly to Mercedes-Benz.

One in three Mercedes-Benz sold is an SUV.

No stopping the Germans

Mercedes-Benz delivered 2,339,562 cars last year – a 1.3% increase over 2018 to confirm its number one position held since 2016; BMW delivered a total of 2,168,516 cars to customer, a 2.0% increase over 2018, while Audi managed 1,845,550, up 1.8% from 2018.

BMW forecasts modest growth in 2020 as part of its new model offensive.

All three German brands experienced an uptake in China despite the Chinese auto market experiencing a slowdown, with SUVs driving sales for all three German brands. For example, one in every three Mercedes-Benz sold in 2019 was an SUV, while 44% of all BMWs sold were an X model.

Volvo global sales volume rises past 700,000-unit mark, a new record, again.

Volvo marches on

While Volvo’s 705,452 sales total in 2019 doesn’t constitute even half of what any of the top three Germans’ total, breaching the 700,000-unit mark is a watershed for Volvo – an increase of 9.8% compared to 2018 and may have exceeded Lexus’s total (yet to be announced). Again, the key models which drove sales were its SUVs, across multiple markets.

Tesla delivered 367,600 cars in 2019, poised to surpass that in 2020.

Tesla ends year on a high

A strong final quarter of the year saw Tesla end 2019 on a high with approximately 367,500 cars delivered – which is over 50% more than 2018’s total of 245,240, powered by the new Model 3 sedan. With its Shanghai plant ready to churn out new cars at 3,000 units per week, expect Tesla’s volume in China to pick up considerably in 2020.


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Denis Wong
In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.