BMW North America saw brand sales grow during March by 2.9% from 31,311 deliveries last year, to 32,228 last month. If you’ve been following along with our previous sales reports, you can probably guess the top-selling models, which included the X3, X5, and X7. A new entrant this time, however, is the G20 3 Series, which is just now becoming available at U.S. dealers in six-cylinder M340i form. Together with MINI sales in the equation, total BMW NA deliveries edged out a gain of 0.4% to 35,997 units compared with 35,842 last March.
Looking at the broader year-to-date picture, North American BMW brand sales are flat, with a 0.1% gain resulting from 73,888 deliveries compared with 73,835 occurring during the same period of 2018. Total BMW NA sales, on the other hand, remain down 1.9%, thanks to 84,368 deliveries last year and 82,793 thus far this year.
Of the previously mentioned top sellers, the X3 was once again the most popular, with 6,727 delivered during March, an impressive 47.9% year-over-year gain from the 4,547 delivered during the same month of 2018. Next up after the X3 was the 3 Series, which saw 4,620 unit sales. While the figure is roughly in line with that of last March, the previous number represents sales of the outgoing F30, while the new figure is mostly comprised of G20 chassis cars, and the six-cylinder version just recently began arriving at dealerships. March was also the first month where the X7 was available on showroom floors, and the model also did quite well, with 2,186 delivered last month. Other popular models include the X5, X1, 5 Series, and X2, and while BMW passenger car sales are down 14.6% and 12.3% year-over-year and year-to-date respectively, light truck sales, a term that encompasses the X3 through X7, are up 36.9% for March, and 22.5% for the year.
BMW Group Electrified sales plunged 55% during March, with just 1,147 units sold versus 2,588 last year. Things may not be as bad as they seem, however, with BMW brass attributing the decline to model changeover. For much of the last year, the BMW EV range was made up of seven distinct models, while now, during a time of immensely important model changeover, with the X5 and 3 Series ranges still not fully available, there are only five models to choose from. Sales of new electrified models, including variations of the 3 Series, X5, and 7 Series, will be commencing soon.
MINI sales struggled throughout March, logging a 16.8% drop from the 4,531 vehicles sold last year, to 3,769 deliveries last month. All but two MINI models experienced a negative change in terms of sales, with Cooper and Cooper S hardtop variants the only ones posting growth. The most popular MINI models during March were the Cooper and Cooper S two-door hardtop, and the Countryman crossover.
Pre-owned sales were, again, a mixed bag of results. During March, BMW pre-owned sales totaled 34,536, a 3.7% year-over-year increase from last March which saw 22,690 deliveries. These numbers add to the year-to-date figures; BMW pre-owned sales are up 3.1% at 59,352 compared with 57,590 during the same period of 2018. BMW Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) deliveries totaled 10,858 during March, a 6.9% decrease from the 11,666 moved during the same month a year ago. For 2019 thus far, BMW CPO sales are down 9.1%, from 30,347 for the first three months of 2018, to 27,579 this time around.
For MINI, the numbers are largely reversed. That is, total MINI pre-owned sales came in at 2,849 for March, a 5.8% decrease compared with the 3,025 for last year. On the year-to-date scale, MINI pre-owned deliveries are down 3.3%, from 7,308, to 7,065. On the CPO side, MINI is all positive. March saw a gain of 10.3% from 1,122 to 1,238 deliveries, while the first three months of 2019 are also looking good, thanks to an 11.7% expansion from 2,700 to 3,015 unit sales.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]