Chinese bureaucrats are not buying black stretch Audi A6 sedans anymore. Oh, no, no. Instead, China’s government has directed its officials to buy domestic limos rather than foreign sedans like Audi, Mercedes-Benz or BMW, resulting in a 10 percent loss of total sales and down from 20 percent a few years ago, according to Audi sales chief Luca de Meo, in an Automotive News Europe report.
“We were honored to be the official supplier of government limos,” de Meo said. “If there would be any opportunity, we would continue to serve the government here.”
Regardless, Audi is doing pretty well with first quarter sales jumping 14 percent to 102,810 units, keeping a lead amongst BMW, whose first quarter sales in China increased 8 percent to 86,224 units, and Mercedez-Benz, whose Chinese sales fell 12 percent to 45,440 units during the quarter.
Audi has been growing because of their variety of cheap compact crossovers and sedans such as the A3 sedan introduced this past month in Shanghai. The A6 is very popular with the Chinese corporate fleets, and many find them being chauffeur driven. Yet, according to de Meo, if you talk about the A3, Q3 or Q5, normal consumers utilize them.
General director of Shanghai General Motors’ Cadillac Division, Kevin Chen, understands what Audi needs to do.
“We need to serve different customers,” said Chen. “It used to be that 70 percent (of the luxury car owners) sat in the back. Now it’s reversed.”
Chen said the average luxury vehicle buyer in China is in his 30’s, a couple decades younger than the typical Cadillac customer in the United States. Perhaps the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe will interest them once it launches in the Chinese market.