BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi (VOWG_p.DE) sold fewer cars in August than luxury rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz as Volkswagen's flagship brand has been harder hit by falling demand in China than its German peers.
Audi said on Thursday that its total sales rose 2.7 percent last month from a year earlier to a record 128,650 cars and sport-utility vehicles, helped by double-digit growth in Germany and the United States.
Its sales year-to-date were up 3.4 percent at a record 1.18 million.
Growth in August compared with gains of 7.6 percent for BMW (BMWG.DE) - the world's biggest maker of luxury cars by annual sales - to 135,735 vehicles, and Mercedes (DAIGn.DE) saw 17.6 percent growth to 139,802 cars, outselling its two rivals for a second straight month.
Chinese deliveries at Audi, which leads the premium segment in the world's largest auto market, fell for a fourth month but the decline eased to 4.1 percent from 12.5 percent in July.
China's car market could post the first drop in volume this year since taking off in the late 1990s, the country's auto industry association said on Thursday, after posting a 3 percent decline in August to 1.7 million vehicles.
Audi is counting on momentum from the launch of more than 10 new models in China through mid-2016, but - unlike BMW and Mercedes - has shied away from forecasting full-year deliveries in its key market which last year accounted for a third of its global sales.
Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Susan Fenton