The sales of German carmakers in China, the world's largest car market, fell back for the first time in 2015, figures seen by dpa on Sunday reveal.
BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen sold 4.4 million vehicles in China last year, 1 per cent fewer than in 2014, an analysis by international auditors Ernst & Young (EY) shows.
This contrasts with 9-per-cent growth in the overall China car market in 2015, which now stands at 20 million cars sold annually.
German carmakers also lost market share, down to 22 per cent in 2015 from 24 per cent in the previous year, the EY report shows.
The deciding factor for the negative trend was the once all-powerful VW group, which saw its market share cut by 2.3 percentage points to 17.7 per cent, its lowest level since 2010.
VW's sales worldwide have been hit by the news that it used software to alter the results of emissions tests, leading to fines and vehicle recalls.
VW saw its China sales drop by 3.4 per cent, while BMW saw an increase in sales but a slight drop in market share, while Mercedes-Benz (excluding vans) in contrast saw an increase both in sales and market share.