BMW Group sales of BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce vehicles are continuing their forward charge through the spring and into summer, adding a 35th consecutive quarter of growth along with a best-ever June and first-half-year, with a record 1,242,507 deliveries, up 1.8% from last year. The month of June was especially good, with deliveries increasing 2.7% over 2017 with a total of 238,920 unit sales worldwide.
According to Pieter Nota, the member of the Board of Management of BMW AG and responsible for Sales and Brand BMW, the numbers translate to an impressive trend of long-term growth that is expected to continue. In addition to strong electric sales, which put the company well on pace to meet its 140,000-unit 2018 goal, X-models are also helping to fuel the expansion, and production at various facilities around the globe continues to ramp up to meet impressive customer demand for SAVs like the X3.
Another milestone also occurred in June: the monthly sale of more than 200,000 BMW-brand vehicles for the first time. To be exact, 200,610 new BMW deliveries translated excellent growth of 4%, which added to year-to-date figures of 1,059,296 and a robust 2% year-over-year gain. Every major sales region is reported to have contributed to the growth, along with a range of varied models from the not-sold-here 1 Series (98,396 units, 7.2% growth) to the widely popular G30 5 Series (191,185 units, 14.9% growth), with others like the X1 and X3 also carding strong numbers.
Sales of vehicles with electrified drivetrains—more specifically BMW i, BMW iPerformance, and MINI Electric—are now under the umbrella of what’s being referred to as BMW Group Electrified. Positive currents are surging in this market, with 13,806 deliveries in June equating to 47.6% YOY growth. The first half of 2018 saw 60,660 electrified BMW and MINI vehicles sold, an expansion of 42.5% over 2017. Regional and national markets remain highly varied in their electrified take rates, but everything is trending towards continuously increasing electrified sales, and BMW is an established player with a proven history.
It’s said that in places like Norway, something like three-quarters of sales are of vehicles with electrified drivetrains, while in a much larger market like California, one in three 5 Series sold is now classified as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The currently available model is the 530e iPerformance, while the 330e iPerformance is pictured below.
On a grander scale, Chinese customers are purchasing quite a few electric BMW Group vehicles, taking delivery of 6,295 units during the first six months of 2018. The UK market is even stronger lately, with 8,823 vehicles translating to 41.4% growth, while the U.S. is also showing excellent potential with consumers electing to purchase 12,015 electrified cars, equating to 51.3% growth.
The sub-brands are also doing well, even though things haven’t been so positive for MINI. June deliveries for the MINI brand totaled just 37,955, receding 3.8% YOY. The brand is still on course for a decent 2018, though, with 181,430 units sold during the first six months, which represents negligible growth of 0.1%—stability is better than giving up ground.
Rolls-Royce remains a special case, thanks to low production volume and highly bespoke finished products, and ultra-luxury demand continues to be strong as well. First-half-year sales totaled 1,781 motor cars, 13.1% more than 2017. The Middle East, a significant regional market for super-premium products like Rolls-Royce and others, continues to face uncertainty and headwinds, but positive momentum in China is helping to offset any negative effects. Models like the new Phantom are proving quite popular, along with black-badge variants of the Dawn, Ghost, and Wraith (below). The all-new Cullinan has also been met with strong enthusiasm since its May debut; orders stretch well into next year, with the first deliveries scheduled for Q1 2019.
Compliance with new testing procedures in Europe continues to proceed on schedule, with the majority of models having completed their retesting. Almost 200 models are already built to comply with new EU emissions standards, which don’t go into effect until over a year from now. BMW continues to maintain its position ahead of the game, with uncertainty and news headlines largely blunted by overwhelmingly strong demand.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy of BMW Group.]