BMW Remains World’s Top Luxury Automaker In 2018, Delivers Over 140,000 EVs

BMW i8 Coupe Roadster

With 2018 having come to a close, the BMW Group can count an eighth consecutive year of record annual sales growth thanks to deliveries of 2,490,660 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles, an increase of 1.1% over 2017. Both BMW and Rolls-Royce recorded best-ever sales figures, while BMW Group Electrified sales expanded by 38.4% from over 140,000 vehicles delivered. Things are going well for BMW M as well, with more 100,000 M and M Performance cars sold during 2018, a milestone that arrived two years ahead of expectations thanks to models like the M2, M5 and X3 M40i.

BMW X3 M40i

Primary growth drivers for the BMW brand included the X lineup and the 5 Series. Globally speaking, 198,395 BMWs were sold during December of 2018, an increase of 1.3% over the previous year, while 2018 as a whole witnessed sales of 2,125,026 BMWs, 1.8% more than 2017. Expanded production of the X3 coming online during the year was a large factor in the model achieving top marks, while the X family as a whole logged growth of 12.1% during 2018, owing to deliveries of 792,590 units. X line SAVs and SACs accounted for 37.3% of total brand sales for the year, a steady gain over the 33.8% carded for 2017. The current generation G30 5 Series contributed as well, with sales up 12.7% in 2018, and an impressive total of 328,997 delivered worldwide.

BMW M550i xDrive and BMW 530e iPerformance

Over the past year, we have extensively covered BMW’s goal of selling 140,000 or more BMW Group Electrified models during 2018. Although it was a difficult year on many fronts, this goal was achieved, and by a healthy margin given how ambitious the specific figure was. 2018 witnessed BMW Group Electrified deliveries of 142,617, an impressive increase of 38.4% when compared to 2017. The top-selling electrified model was the BMW 530e, with 40,260 units sold, or 12.2% of 5 Series sales volume, while it was also the year’s best selling luxury plug-in hybrid in the U.S. The MINI Cooper Countryman SE ALL4 was sold to 13,219 individuals during the year, making up 13.3% of MINI sales. The i3, now on sale for its fifth model year, achieved a fifth consecutive year of increased sales, with an expansion of 10.6% in 2018 to 34,829 thanks, in part, to the i3S. The holidays didn’t add any resistance to things either, as Group electrified vehicles posted a 30% gain during December from unit sales of 17,252.

As of this writing and for most of last year, BMW has maintained a goal that, by the end of 2019, more than 500,000 BMW Group electrified vehicles will have been sold since things began back in 2013. Additionally, a minimum of 25 electrified offerings will join the lineup by 2025, twelve of which will use no other form of propulsion.

BMW M2 Long Beach Blue

Sales of BMW M and M Performance models totaled 102,780 for 2018, a double-digit increase of 27.2% compared with the year prior. The most popular model was the X3 M40i, which makes sense given how popular the X3 is, and that it was the most popular BMW model in the U.S. for much of 2018 and continues to set monthly records. 19,760 X3 M40i’s were sold last year, while the next popular model is the M2, of which 13,731 were delivered during 2018. The blisteringly fast M5 carded strong numbers as well, with 7,823 of the world’s first xDrive M car sold. 2018 was also a year of expanding the lineup, with CS (competition sport) and Competition models added to current offerings, along with other M Performance models announced like the X2 M35i. December capped of 2018 with an 8% gain in unit sales from the year prior, with 10,268 M and M Performance cars delivered globally.

BMW M4CS Lime Rock Grey F82

Rolls-Royce set a sales record that eclipsed all of the marques 115-year history on 2018, with deliveries of 4,107 units, which translates to growth of 22.2%. The Americas, specifically the U.S., remained the brand’s most important market, although all other regions posted year-over-year gains as well. Along with record-setting sales, 2018 also saw a record number of individuals opting to order their Rolls-Royce with bespoke options and other treatments, cementing the ultra-luxury marque as a trend setter in its segment and the industry as a whole. December 2018 was also an especially busy month for Rolls-Royce, with sales of 678 cars taking place, growth of 55%.

Rolls-Royce Black Badge Dawn and Wraith

After occupying negative territory for most of 2018, BMW Motorrad was achieve to manage an eighth consecutive year of sales growth thanks to 165,566 units delivered worldwide, which equates to an increase of 0.9%. The largely flat year is attributed to a total of nine new models joining the lineup, which are expected to continue the expansion in deliveries through 2019. For December, things began to pick up pace, with 13,385 units sold, an increase of 13.1%.

BMW R NineT Pure and Racer

MINI had a difficult year in 2018. For December, sales were down 11.3% from deliveries of 33,432, while the year as a whole witnessed 361,531 unit sales, a decrease of 2.8%. Nevertheless, BMW Group has high hopes for MINI 2019, with the introduction of MINI Electric slated to happen in the Fall or Winter.

MINI Cooper S Convertible

Looking at things from the regional perspective, sales were largely positive around the world for December and 2018, although it was clear that Asia and specifically China led the way. Asia posted a sales gain of 8.8% for December from sales of 84,716 vehicles, while the figures for the year are 874,828 or growth of 3.2%. China was the top contributor in the region, with unit sales of 62,895 taking place during December, equating to an expansion of 20.9%. For 2018, the Chinese market recorded a gain of 7.7% originating from 639,953 deliveries there. Japan posted a gain of 2.5% for December with 8,664 vehicles sold there, while the country remained negative for the year by 2% with 78,001 deliveries occurring.

Europe edged out a gain of 0.3% thanks to 1,097,654 unit sales, although December’s sales number of 97,568 was a bit of a drag, translating to a decline of 5.2%. 319,134 BMW Group vehicles were sold in Germany during 2018, which means sales were up there 2.5%. December was another story though, as delivery growth slowed to a crawl with unit sales of 29,400 recorded meaning things were essentially flat with growth of 0.1%. The UK was negative for the year with 237,895 deliveries equating to a decline of 1.4%, but the country managed to post a 2.8% gain in December with 21,766 unit sales.

The Americas were again a bit of a mixed bag with 456,325 vehicles sold in the region for the year, or 1.4% more than last year, but a decline of 5.9% taking place during December thanks to 45,176 deliveries. Latin America ended up in positive territory for 2018 thanks to strong sales there for most of the year, with 54,858 vehicles sold, or growth of 8.1%. December recorded a decline of 6.3%, however, stemming from sales of 5,107 vehicles. BMW Group sales were down in the U.S. during December by 4.4%, from deliveries of 37,154 even though BMW Brand sales were up, but the second largest national market by sales volume managed to come out positive for the year with an increase of 0.5% from 354,698 unit sales.—Alex Tock

[Photos courtesy BMW Group.]

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