MUNICH -- Audi AG has closed within 44,100 units of Mercedes-Benz in global sales after 11 months. A year ago the gap separating Mercedes, a unit of Daimler AG, and Audi, a Volkswagen AG subsidiary, was 114,611 sales.
Audi also halved the distance between it and premium-car sales leader BMW brand. A year ago BMW led Audi by 184,294 units. Last month the advantage had shrunk to 93,112.
Despite Audi's gains, which have been supported by surging sales in China, remains in third place in global sales. (See table, below)
In November, BMW brand sold 90,383 cars, an increase of 11.1 percent from the same month last year. Mercedes' volume increase 19.1 percent to 88,600 units and Audi posted an 8.9 percent rise to 82,750.
Audi is the top-selling premium brand in China. Last month its volume in the fast-growing market increased 101.9 percent to 16,503 cars. Through 11 months, Audi has sold a company-record 139,872 cars in China, an increase of 28.6 percent.
BMW credits its November sales increase on strong demand for the its Z4 roadster and 7 series upper-premium car. Last month's Z4 sales were up 149.3 percent to 1,760 compared with November 2008. Sales of the 7 series rose 57.1 percent in the month to 5,025 units.
Mercedes' sales increase last month was led by the E-class medium-premium sedan. Mercedes says the car's global retail sales volume doubled to 15,700 last month.