Big, mainstream automotive brands such as Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Volkswagen continued to sell the most popular new models globally in 2015. But when it came to luxury brands, vehicles from Germany’s Big Three — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz — dominated the sales charts.
For the fifth year in a row, the BMW brand sold the most luxury cars and trucks on the planet in 2015. With Mercedes-Benz nudging third-place Audi for second, it’s no surprise models from these three automakers filled up our list of the top 10 bestselling luxury vehicles in the world for 2015 (sales data from Focus2Move.com and automakers):
10th Place: Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (118,618 sold)
With overall sales up 13.4 per cent compared to 2014, Mercedes-Benz sold 1,803,250 new vehicles globally last year. The brand’s third bestseller was the compact CLA “four-door coupe.” With more than 118,000 purchased in 2015, sales of the CLA were up by a substantial 29 per cent. In Canada, sales were virtually flat, with only a 0.5 per cent gain to 3,870 units sold. For 2016, CLA pricing starts at $35,300 and can go as high as $51,800 for the top-of-the-line 375-horsepower AMG model.
9th Place: BMW 4 Series (134,061 sold)
BMW sold the most luxury vehicles in the world last year, with sales up 5.2 per cent, to 1,905,234 units in 2015. No surprise then, to see five of the 10 vehicles on our list come from the German automaker. The first is the 4 Series, the coupe family derived from BMW’s top-selling 3 Series compact sedan; 2015 was its first full year on sale, which explains the 4 Series’ 98.6 per cent sales jump over 2014. Priced between $49,450 and $85,500 (for the M4 Cabriolet), 4 Series sales last year grew by 43 per cent in Canada, to almost 5,000 copies sold.
8th Place: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (147,006 sold)
Although it shares the same compact front- or all-wheel-drive platform as the B-, CLA- and GLA-Classes, the A-Class four-door hatchback is not sold in Canada. Perhaps the German automaker should reconsider. First seen in 1997, the current third-generation A-Class is more conventional than its taller predecessors, and has become a popular model worldwide. That said, global A-Class sales were down 6.7 per cent in 2015, to just over 147,000 units.
7th Place: BMW 1 Series (163,721 sold)
Just to be clear: The current BMW 1 Series is the compact, rear-wheel-drive hatchback that’s been offered in foreign markets since 2004. Canadians got the 1 Series coupe and convertible versions, renamed the 2 Series for 2014 (not to be confused with the BMW 2 Series Active/Gran Tourer four-door hatchbacks, based on the Mini platform, also not sold here). Despite its lack of presence in North America, BMW still managed to sell more than 163,000 copies of the 1 Series worldwide in 2015, a 5.5 per cent drop compared to the previous year.
6th Place: BMW X5 (177,417 sold)
One BMW model Canadians have been able to buy since it went on sale in 1999 has been the X5, the German automaker’s popular mid-size SUV. The only utility vehicle to make this list, the X5 was the most popular luxury SUV on the planet in 2015. Over 177,000 copies of the third-generation X5 were sold, a significant 22.6 per cent gain over 2014. Base 2016 X5 models start at $66,300 and climb to the 567-h.p. $106,900 X5 M. Unlike the gains made worldwide, X5 sales were relatively flat last year in Canada, with a 1.6 per cent drop, to just 5,381 units sold.
5th Place: Audi A4 (180,063 sold)
Audi’s worldwide sales grew by 3.6 per cent last year to a total of 1,803,250 new vehicles. An all-new fifth-generation A4 sedan began its global rollout last June. Because of the model transfer, A4 sales were down worldwide by 4.3 per cent, to a little more than 180,000 units sold. In Canada, where 2016 A4 prices range from $43,200 to $56,090, sales were down in 2015 by 6.7 per cent, to just more than 5,400 copies sold.
4th Place: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (208,604 sold)
On sale since 1993, the mid-size Mercedes-Benz four-door remained a popular model worldwide in 2015. With the anticipation of an all-new, fifth-generation E-Class going on sale in 2016 for the 2017 model year — first seen at this year’s Detroit auto show — global sales of the Benz E-Class were down 14.6 per cent, to over 208,000 units sold in 2015. E-Class sales in Canada last year were down by 16.5 per cent, to just over 3,100 units. Outgoing, last-generation 2016 E-Class models are priced between $65,500 and $113,800 (for the 577-h.p. AMG model).
3rd Place: BMW 3 Series (304,316 sold)
First seen exclusively as a two-door in 1975, and with the recent creation of the standalone 4 Series, the sixth-generation BMW 3 Series now comes only as a four-door. That has not stopped the compact luxury sedan from remaining the German automaker’s top-selling vehicle worldwide, despite sales being off by 18.2 per cent in 2015, to just over 304,000 copies sold. In Canada, where the 3 Series can be had for as little as $39,990 or as much as $75,000 for the 425-h.p. M3 Sedan, sales were down 4.9 per cent, to 9,590 units sold.
2nd Place: Audi A3 (353,572 sold)
From the world’s first premium compact in 1996, the Audi A3 has become the German automaker’s top seller worldwide and the second-most popular luxury vehicle in the world. Last year, A3 sales grew by 19.5 per cent, to over 353,000 copies sold. With more than 3,700 sold in Canada (where it can be had as a sedan, convertible or plug-in hybrid for between $31,600 and $45,400), A3 sales were even more impressive, with a jump of 54.5 per cent compared to 2014.
1st Place: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (364,668 sold)
The world’s bestselling luxury vehicle in 2015 was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Launched at the 2014 Detroit auto show, the current fifth-generation model saw sales jump a substantial 22 per cent in 2015, to over 364,000 copies sold. The world’s most popular luxury vehicle was also No. 1 in Canada last year. With prices starting at $43,800 and going up to $83,700 for the 503-h.p. Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, C-Class sales saw a jump of 41.7 per cent last year to 9,992 copies sold.
— Postmedia Network Inc. 2016