Huzzah! Ja! Heja Sverige! European Car Brands Report Fairly Successful August

By Jacob Brown | September 02, 2011
If you can’t hear it, there’s an angry snarl and a bunch of incomprehensible German swearing coming from BMW’s U.S. headquarters in South Carolina. It’s not that the BMW group, which also owns Mini, didn’t sell a bunch of cars; it did. It’s just that 23,924 vehicles sold in the U.S. is 0.2 percent off from last year’s August figure. Forget that BMW’s brand sales are well above its closest rival, Mercedes-Benz, too. The press release BMW issued makes it sound like the company just had its favorite toy taken from it. That said, BMW is on an aggressive march toward forgetting this month as it opens up the rest of the year with a litany of new small-engine products like the four-cylinder 2012 BMW 5 Series and Z4 roadster. Otherwise, no other kraut looks to be sauer. Volkswagen reported its year-to-date sales up 20.7 percent on the back of the massively successful 2011 Volkswagen Jetta sedan. Even small makes like Porsche and Volvo rode a wave of good fortune for the August sales month. Here’s how they faired last month.
Audi: Put some butter on Audi because it’s on a roll. In eight months of sales, the German luxury brand has posted eight straight month-over-month sales increases. Climbing 11.1 percent versus August 2010 with 10,201 sales, Audi has now pushed 75,256 vehicles through showrooms and into owners’ driveways.
  • Showing a surge in diesel sales, 69 percent of the 764 A3 hatchbacks sold and 45.5 percent of the 720 Q7 full-size sport utilities sold in August were diesel-powered.
  • The redesigned Audi A8 led with a massive 393 percent increase in sales compared to last year, selling 468 units in August and 3768 through the first eight months.
  • The volume leader Audi A4 sedan dropped 8.3 percent to 2623 units in August, but it has remained flat through 2011 with 23,708 sold.
  • The sloped-back Audi A7, new for 2011, put up a sales figure of 703 cars in August and 3404 on the year, proving there are sales to be found in the four-door coupe niche.
BMW: Without its Mini subsidiary, BMW posted a modest 6.5 percent gain for August on the heels of the popularity of its crossover lineup, pushing August sales to 20,815. To date, the BMW brand is up 12 percent on the year to 155,929 cars sold. As a company with its Mini brand (and excluding ultra luxury marque Rolls-Royce), BMW is up to 193,565—14.6 higher than last year’s figure.
  • BMW’s crossovers led a 41.3 percent month-over-month sales increase, boosted mostly by the all-new X3’s 254 percent sales increase to 17,314 through August. The X3 sold 2382 units in August.
  • The 1 Series compact, Z4 roadster, and 7 Series full-size sedan all dropped considerably—54 percent, 74.7 percent, and 36.6 percent declines, respectively.
  • The 3 Series posted a 5.2 percent increase, leading all of BMW with 8775 units sold.
  • The 5 Series is the only BMW car up through the year with a 56.8 percent year-over-year increase to 33,899 vehicles sold through August—4294 in August.
  • Mini sales dropped across the board with the exception of the Countryman crossover to 3109 units—down 29.7 percent for August. Blame weakened levels of inventory, or so BMW reports.
Jaguar/Land Rover: The two British brands owned by India’s Tata Motors have a love-hate relationship with one another: While Land Rover giveth to the tune of a 10-percent increase over August 2010 to 2807 sales, the Jaguar brand taketh away. Last month, Jaguar sold 810 vehicles, a 43-percent decrease. As a whole, the company posted a nine-percent sales decline. Land Rover’s sales are up 16 percent to 22,910 units, and Jaguar’s are down seven percent to 8204 units in the first two-thirds of the year.
  • The Range Rover Sport led the British off-road brand with 1199 units sold, a 39 percent increase.
  • Land Rover LR4 sales are up 11 percent to 608 units in August 2011.
Mercedes-Benz: The third-largest German automaker in the U.S. can smile this week, an unusual thing for a bunch of Germans to do, indeed. That’s because Mercedes-Benz posted a company-wide 5.4 percent sales increase for August. To date, that puts the company up 10.5 percent on the year with 159,814 vehicles sold.
  • The midsize E-Class led company sales in August, with 5628 finding homes.
  • While 405 Smart Fortwo coupes and convertibles doesn’t sound like a lot, number represents a huge uptick for the brand since Mercedes-Benz took over distribution duties from Penske.
  • The redesigned CLS-Class represents an 810.7-percent increase from last August with 765 of the four-door coupes sold last month.
  • Mercedes-Benz sold seven B-Class compact hatchbacks in the U.S. last month. The model is only available in the U.S. as the hydrogen-powered F-Cell in California. The gas-powered B-Class is available in Canada, though.
  • The six-passenger R-Class crossover sold just 30 units last month. For reference, the $200,000 SLS AMG supercar found 32 happy new owners.
Porsche: July saw Porsche’s sports cars sales figures down as the company relied on its Panamera sedan and Cayenne SUV to stay afloat. Porsche’s fortunes reversed for August as every model but the Panamera increased in sales versus August 2010. While the 2184 vehicles sold last month represented a modest 7 percent gain, the company as a whole is up 30.4 percent for 2011 through last month.
  • Despite an all-new 911 coming out early next year, the current car shot up 95 units to 470 — 1 25.3 percent increase.
  • Boxsters and Caymans shot up 48 units from last August to 303 cars, an 18.9 percent uptick. Year-over-year sales are down 119 units to 2470.
  • Panamera sales are down 98 units from last year to 529. Year-to-year sales are down 271 cars.
Saab: The beleaguered Swedish brand hasn’t produced a car since June when it halted production to reorganize its finances. While little is known about the U.S. sales of the ailing company, Saab released its international financial numbers this week, indicating that despite the hardship, it still makes cars people are willing to buy. Through the first half of 2011, Saab sold 15,194 vehicles, a 44-percent increase over 2010’s figures when it faced extinction (a recurring theme, so it seems). That number is still a long way away from CEO Victor Muller’s reasonable estimate of 80,000 cars needed for the company to sustain a business case. Still, it’s not bad for a firm that only exists on paper right now.
Volkswagen: Europe’s largest automaker took in a 10.4 percent sales increase, leading the European automakers with 25,232 vehicles sold in August. Overall, the automaker is up 20.4 percent on the year to 208,423 cars sold, a considerable 35,676 more than last year at this time.
  • Volkswagen’s gamble to make a cheaper Jetta appears to be paying off with a 55.5 percent month-over-month sales increase. While 12,206 Jettas sold in August looks impressive, the 102,484 sold through the year represents a 72.1 percent increase.
  • Volkswagen sold no New Beetles last month in anticipation for the all-new 2012 redesign of the car.
  • Passat sales have wound down to just 314 vehicles before the redesigned-for-North America 2012 Passat bows.
  • Diesel engines accounted for 24.4 percent of Volkswagen’s sales.
Volvo: The word “Volvo” translates to “I roll.” And roll Volvo did for the month of August, posting an impressive 17.4 percent month-over-month sales increase to 5215 units sold. Year-to-date, Volvo is up an even more impressive 27.4 percent.
  • Leading the way, the S60 sports sedan sold 1544 units.
  • The XC60 and XC90 crossovers came second and third on Volvo’s sales charts.