Audi reports first-quarter sales record

Audi is stepping up its challenge to unseat German rival BMW as global luxury-car sales leader, with recovering European demand and Chinese growth pushing its first-quarter deliveries to a record. Audi said on Monday that deliveries in March rose 15.4 percent to an all-time monthly record of 170,450 cars.

Fuelled by demand for the expanded A3 line, Audi’s European sales, accounting for almost half of its global deliveries, were up 7.2 percent in March, led by double-digit growth in Germany and the UK.

First-quarter deliveries were up 11.7 percent to a record 412,850 cars, Audi said, powered also by a 21 percent gain in China where the carmaker started assembly of the A3 sport back model at a factory in Foshan in late 2013. That compares with 374,276 cars for rival Mercedes-Benz, which dropped behind Audi into third place in the global luxury-car sales rankings in 2011.

2014 Audi S8 Hybrid