The comment came from Uwe Ellinghaus, marketing director of BMW UK, following the announcement of the German brand’s 17% sales increase for the year so far, despite competition from domestic rivals.
Ellinghaus said: “Audi customers are closer in age to BMW owners, but why should anybody buy a good copy if the genuine product is available?”
“We fear no competitors but we take them all seriously. Even though Mercedes-Benz sales in the UK are down this year we still take them seriously because they are undertaking a new product cycle - but traditionally Mercedes customers are different to BMW buyers,” he added.
Audi UK, brand director, Jeremy Hicks said: "Comments like that really don't deserve any kind of response."
BMW said the rise in sales was due to the launch of the new 3-series Touring models. It said demand for premium car brands has only slowed by 2% in the UK this year as opposed to much bigger losses in the non-premium volume sectors where there have been less private and fleet customers.
The German manufacturer is aiming to sell between 105,000 and 110,000 new passenger cars in the UK by the end of the year.
"As a German company we are used to dealing with rising and falling new car markets. We can vary our production schedules accordingly to meet demand. We are only successful because we know how to deliver a premium brand strategy as we have shown this year with our new model ranges and new engine options," said Ellinghaus.