Even with mixed results in the U.S., BMW has still managed to come out ahead for the month of October and the first ten months of 2018. The BMW Group sold more cars last month than during any previous October, with 200,883 deliveries resulting in a 1.7% increase over 2017. That brings the year-to-date numbers for 2018 to 2,035,695 total sales, or 1.3% more than the same period of the previous year.
The market remains volatile in a number of respects according to Pieter Nota, the board member responsible for sales, but there are still number of positive things occurring beneath the surface of the relatively small numbers which represent a significant cool down when compared with 2017. One example is electrical sales that are up some 40%, meaning large investments in associated technologies and necessary retooling are beginning to bear fruit. In addition to newer models like the G30 5 Series, one of every five of which is now electrified, older, introductory models like the i3 continue to drive sales as well, with that model carding growth of 10% for October.
As a whole, sales for BMW Group Electrified vehicles including BMW i, iPerformance and MINI Electric totaled 13,016 during October which equates to a 38.4% increase over last year. For 2018 thus far, the total is 110,560, or a 41.6% gain compared with 2017. The group goal of 140,000 EV sales for 2018 remains in place according to recent press releases, while another goal of having sold over 500,000 electrified models in total by the end of 2019 is also mentioned.
Overall sales numbers for the BMW brand largely mirror those of the overarching group. Deliveries were up 1.6% during October at 171,131, and year-to-date sales are also in positive territory at 1.8% with 1,737,348 units having reached the hands of customers. The current, third-generation X3 (pictured above) is one of the primary growth catalysts, owing to October sales that were up 150% over last year with 20,573 units sold. The large expansion of X3 sales is attributed to increased availability thanks multiple facilities now producing the model. The venerable 5 Series, now in its seventh generation internally dubbed the G30, also helped things along with double-digit growth of its own; 316,579 units sold during the first 10 months of 2018 translates to a gain of 13.7%.
Regionally speaking for the BMW Group, North America was the only drag, and you can read more about the specifics of U.S. sales here. While the U.S. recorded a retraction in terms of group sales, but a small gain in relation to BMW brand sales, Latin America posted growth of 3.4% during October from 4,331 unit sales. That adds to 44,897 deliveries for the year, which is 10.3% more than the previous year. 72,735 deliveries in Asia during October translates to an expansion of 2.4%, and the region remains in positive territory for the year as a whole with 710,034 vehicles sold there during 2018, 2.7% more than 2017. Both China and Japan posted gains for October, including 12% for the former coming from 56,439 deliveries, and 0.9% resulting from 5,712 for the latter. 516,068 deliveries in China and 62,956 in Japan translate to growth of 6%, and a decline of 3.7% respectively for the year so far. Europe remained positive by 2.4% during October with 88,277 deliveries, which contributes to the year-to-date total of 903,740 which is just 0.2% more than last year. The U.K. saw deliveries of 16,897 to customers which equates to a healthy increase of 7.8%, while Germany posted figures in the double-digits; 27,998 deliveries, or 23.9% more than October of 2017. For 2018, the U.K. is in negative territory with 198,323 deliveries coming in 1.9% less than the same period of 2017, while Germany is up 1.5% with 259,730 vehicles sold there.
In a what has been a tough year for MINI, an increase in sales of 2.1% during October resulting from 29,418 deliveries is a definite positive. Year-to-date, MINI sales are down 1.6%, with 295,354 units sold. Just as the X3 is carrying BMW in a number of ways, the MINI Countryman has been a sales powerhouse for the mass market brand, with 8,536 deliveries occurring during October, or 13.8% more than last year. Motorrad sales expanded 4.8% in October, owing to 13,052 units being sold, but figures remain negative for the year with 139,045 deliveries coming at 0.3% lower than last year.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW Group.]