Mercedes-Benz retained its lead as China's top-selling luxury brand so far this year in March and the first quarter despite a surge in sales by Audi, last year's leader.
Mercedes brand sales rose 17 percent to 58,471 last month. Audi's sales surged 31 percent to 54,031 vehicles. BMW brand registrations increased 7.3 percent to 51,180.
Mercedes first-quarter sales also advanced 17 percent, rising to 169,932 vehicles. Audi's volume increased 42 percent to 154,270. BMW brand sales were up 8 percent to 146,280.
Mercedes continues to build on momentum created by the overhaul of its dealer network four years ago, which has helped boost sales in the market. The automaker has said it expects 2018 to be another bumper year for the brand in China.
Audi is still recovering from a dispute over plans to build cars with SAIC, which upset dealers affiliated to Audi's existing China partner FAW. Some dealers expressed concern that the arrangement with SAIC could add more distributors and depress their profits. The disagreement, which prompted dealers to suspend new-vehicle orders, was resolved in May.
Audi remained the top-selling premium brand in China last year, even though its sales grew much slower than its German rivals. Audi sales increased by 1.1 percent to 597, 866. Mercedes brand was No. 2 with sales up 26 percent to 587,868. In third place, BMW's brand volume rose 16 percent to 559,270.