The first quarter of 2018 proved strong for the BMW Group on a variety of fronts. Headlining matters was the highest EBT margin since 2011, a time when chassis codes that started with the prefix E were still predominantly being manufactured. Even in the face of high capital expenditure required for the next generation of platforms and integration of new technologies, sales numbers have held solid or increased across the board, and profitability remains high.
Global first quarter deliveries of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles increased by 3% to 604,629 units with 587,237 having been delivered during the same period in 2017. Year over year record gains of 5% and 4.8% were posted for January and February, but greater headwinds for the global economy and unfavorable exchange rates increased drag on March numbers. United States sales growth mirrored that of the corporation as a whole, with a 3% year over year gain resulting from 86,630 units sold.
2018 has also been referred to as the, “Year of X” by BMW. Launched in March, the X2 seems to have taken the automotive community by storm. While many were simply expecting another iteration of the X line which would mirror whatever series number it shared, the X2 has pleasantly surprised many with its unique blend of practical, sporty nature. The new G01 X3 is also coming online to be manufactured at a total of three different locations starting during the second quarter, and the G02 X4 isn’t far behind either. The X7 Concept iPerformance has been in attendance at a few recent auto shows, with more expected on that model in the coming months.
Electrified drivetrain-equipped vehicles proved especially popular, with sales of BMW i models including the i3, i8 and MINI Electric plug-in hybrids up an impressive 38% to just below 27,000 units sold. Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board at BMW AG says because of these figures, “We are therefore well on course to delivering more than 140,000 electrified vehicles in the current year.” The number of lease agreements and credit financing contracts under management by BMW Financial Services enlarged by 1% from 5,380,785 to 5,434,664. A total of 451,908 new contracts were added during Q1, which was down 2.9% from last year’s total of 465,634.
As far as the individual brands are concerned, BMW recorded growth of 2.8% with 517,447 units delivered to customers versus 503,445 for last year. MINI beat that gain with a 4% increase over the 2017 total of 83,059 units delivered to 86,375. Rolls-Royce also carded strong growth of 10.1%, but the game is a bit different regarding the low-production and highly bespoke masterpieces they create. The increase was achieved via 807 units sold as opposed to 733 12 months ago. Like the X7, the range-topping Cullinan is also on our radar, so expect more regarding that model soon.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy of BMW Group.]