Audi China Sales Fall For First Time in Two Years

Audi posted its first sales decline in China, its largest market, in more than two years last month, joining BMW AG in recording a slide in demand for premium autos amid a slowing economy.

Audi, the best-selling luxury brand in China, saw sales decline 1.6 percent from a year earlier, the first drop since February 2013. BMW and Mini sales fell 4 percent in May, the first decrease in a decade.

The sales declines mirror the slowing of the broader vehicle market, which saw deliveries fall for a second month in May, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers data. A slowing economy and a stock-market boom have combined to draw money away from auto purchases.

“The current reticence to buy in the Chinese luxury segment was particularly noticeable,” Audi said in a statement on its website.

Other premium brands have also reported declines in demand. Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover unit posted a 32 percent plunge in China deliveries last month, while Volvo Car Group deliveries slid 2.2 percent.

Volvo Car Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson had predicted in April that the brand’s China sales would expand faster than the expected 5 percent to 10 percent gain for the premium-car market.

— With assistance by Alexandra Ho

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