BMW brand sales were up 1.4% during April, with a total of 23,816 unit sales compared to 23,482 last year, but the small gain was not enough to offset a 29.8% decline logged by MINI, from 3,731 deliveries last year to 2,631 last month. Overall, this translated to BMW NA sales shrinking 2.9%, from 27,213 during April of 2018, to 26,437 this year. But while MINI sales continue to flag, new BMW models are showing serious potential, with fresh market entrants appearing to be picking up steam as availability increases.
Some of the promising growth drivers include X3, which has been quite popular in its third generation, with sales of 4,321 during April amounting to 11.8% growth. The fourth-generation X5 is moving in large numbers, with 3,781 units delivered in April, while the X7 is also appearing to fill pent-up demand, with an impressive 2,291 of the high-end three-row SAVs meeting new homes during April.
The new 3 Series, now being sold in its seventh generation, is also proving to be in demand, with the six-cylinder M340i variant hitting dealerships for the first time as you read this—3 series sales were up 2.6% during April, thanks to 3,642 deliveries. Some unexpected low-volume players also posted strong percentage gains, such as the X4, with 638 deliveries amounting to a 230.6% gain, while the specialized i8, re-energized by a fresh roadster variant, carded a 53% gain from 87 deliveries. The 7 Series is proving consistent, as it always has, with the brand’s luxury flagship sedan witnessing growth of 3.8%. The 5 Series also continues to be what BMW refers to as a segment leader, thanks to 2,857 deliveries during April alone.
On the year-to-date term, BMW brand sales are essentially flat at 0.4% with deliveries growing from 97,317 to 97,704. Adding MINI into the equation, which is down 19.2% for 2019, and BMW NA also posts a decline for the first four months of the year of 2.1%, thanks to 111,581 deliveries occurring last year, and 109, 230 during the same period in 2019. Dissecting BMW brand sales in a bit more detail, BMW passenger cars sales, a term that encompasses all of the sedans, coupes, roadsters, the X1, and X2, were down 17.8% during April, with deliveries shrinking from 15,032 to 12,361. For 2019 so far, the story is much the same, with unit sales decreasing 13.6% from 62,573 to 54,047. The trend towards SAVs and SACs couldn’t be more evident, with BMW light truck sales growing 35.6% in April from 8,450 to 11,455. Again, 2019 is looking good in this regard as well, with a 25.7% sales gain attributable to 43,657 light truck deliveries this year, as opposed to 34,744 last year.
BMW Group Electrified sales continue to lack the kind of juice we’ve become accustomed to, but as has been pointed out in previous sales reports, this is thanks to the current period being one of important model changeover. Many mainstay vehicles that customers are interested in adopting electric versions of are currently off the market, as new versions are slated to come on board, and these include hybrid versions of the X3, X5, 3 Series, and 7 Series—a serious portion of the lineup. During much of 2018, the electrified drivetrain model offering included seven models, but right now, is limited to just four, which are made up of the i3, i8, 530e and MINI Countryman PHEV.
It’s been tough to gauge any noticeable trend from the secondary market in 2019 as well. Total BMW pre-owned sales increased 6.7% from 20,269 to 21,637 for April, and are also up 4% for 2019 with deliveries growing from 77,859 to 80,990. BMW Certified Pre-Owned sales, on the other hand, declined 3.9% last month from 10,507 to 10,092, and are also down 8% for the first four months of 2019, with deliveries shrinking from 40,854 to 37,572.
The numbers, once again, are largely reversed for MINI. For April, all measures are up, including total pre-owned sales growing 5.8% to 2,637, and CPO deliveries expanding 9.9% to 1,170. Year-to-date, MIN pre-owned sales are have declined 1% from 9,800 to 9,703, while CPO vehicles are moving steadily off dealer lots, with growth from 3,765 to 4,180 translating to an 11% gain.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]