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Lincoln, Cadillac chase Audi in China luxury market

Published on Apr 24, 2014 12:24 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - Classic American luxury brands Lincoln and Cadillac are taking on Germany's long-dominant Audi in China, but face a market leader fortified by enviable brand awareness built over years as officialdom's favourite car.

Black Audis - with their four interlocking ring symbols, signifying the long-ago merger of four German auto companies - are ubiquitous at state events, such as the annual meeting of China's legislature in central Beijing.

Audi, which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary in China, has benefitted from its early entry into the market and the prestige its badge holds among high-profile passengers, selling just short of 500,000 vehicles in 2013.

German manufacturers - Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen - dominate the premium segment, with 80 per cent market share, the consultancy McKinsey said in a report last year.

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