Luxo brands power on in face of falling sales

More Australian car buyers are seemingly ditching mainstream brands in favour of cheaper and more accessible luxury marques, fresh industry figures reveal.

Statistics released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries this month showed luxury car makers defied the overall drop in new car sales during February.

Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi were among the strongest performers for the month, with each brand also recording strong growth in their year to date totals. Mercedes-Benz sales have increased by 20 per cent on 2013, while Audi sales have spiked 17 per cent and BMW sales by 11 per cent.

Mercedes-Benz executive vice president of marketing and sales, Ola Kallenius, said Australia remains one of the strong growth platforms for luxury brands.

“We had a tremendous year in 2013 – selling 24,500 vehicles – and we started well in January this year,” he told Australian media at the 2014 Geneva motor show.

“We think that if you look at the growth of our product portfolio over the next years to come there is opportunity for additional growth.

“We are fairly optimistic about additional growth for the Australian market.”

Kallenius’ thoughts parallel the rise of cheaper entry offerings from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, in a bid to entice younger buyers into the fold.

Mercedes-Benz last year unveiled several new compact series pitched primarily at younger buyers.


In the US, 82 per cent of buyers who purchased Mercedes-Benz’s new entry-level CLA range last year were new to the brand.

Following record sales of more than 1.13 million new vehicles in 2013, the overall market continued its slow start to the year in February with vehicle registrations down by 3.8 percent last month compared to the previous year.

Australians purchased a total of 86,818 new cars in February – down from 90,218 in 2013 – with the market down 3400 units in the first two months of 2014, accumulating 169,103 sales so far.

-With Andrew MacLean