The BMW Group has continued to defy broader market trends and conditions for another successive month in 2019, with sales of BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce vehicles expanding 0.7% during April to 196,179. Year-to-date results are still largely flat, with growth of 0.2% coming from from 801,520 unit sales so far, but things are beginning to move in a positive direction. Pieter Nota, the BMW Group board member responsible for customer, brands, and sales, has recently described the goal of sales growth during 2019 as being attainable, thanks to recently introduced models meeting a positive reception with customers.
BMW brand sales grew 2.3% during April thanks to 171,154 deliveries, which moves the year-to-date total to 690,469, or 0.8% more than the same four-month period of 2018. Primary growth catalysts for the brand are almost exclusively X models, such as the X2, sales of which doubled during April compared to a year before, and the X3, which carded a 71% gain for the month. X4 deliveries also expanded 36.2%, and the X7 has exceeded demand expectations, which helped X model deliveries grow 20.5% in April on a year-over-year basis. Overall, BMW X models accounted for 43.3% of total sales in April, with 74,049 units delivered to customers worldwide.
The new 3 Series is also meeting a positive reception with customers, and sales of that model seem to be robust despite the lack of an electrical variant, which will debut at some point this year. Speaking of BMW Group Electrified, it’s said that sales are largely flat compared with last year, which isn’t as bad as it may seem, considering that the electrical lineup remains in the midst of considerable changeover, with new models replacing old. Rather noteworthy, the i3 seems to be experiencing its strongest demand just as the model is reaching peak maturity; sales rose 21.6% during April. By the end of 2019, BMW is promising a total of ten new or updated models with electrified drivetrains, a figure that will grow to 25 by 2025.
MINI sales continued to act as a drag on total group results, with the brand logging a decline of 9.9% in April, to 24,623 deliveries. The drop is partially attributed to a planned four-week break in production that partially took place during the month, at which time scheduled maintenance and preparations for the fully-electric MINI model were carried out at an Oxford, U.K. plant.
BMW Motorrad sales experienced strong growth of 7.7% during April, which brought total deliveries to 18,408. For 2019 thus far, Motorrad sales are up 7.7%, to 57,014.
Looking at the broader, global picture, Europe and the Americas were down 2.5% and 2.1% respectively for April. The numbers are the same for the Americas on the year-to-date scale, with 139,444 deliveries translating to a decline of 2.1%. As Latin America remains positive for both April and 2019 so far, it is the U.S. that is largely flat, thanks to flagging MINI sales and the aforementioned model changeover transitions, despite BMW brand sales growing slightly. The largest markets in Europe, including the U.K. and Germany were both positive for April, with German sales experiencing double-digit growth of 11.1%, which helped to push the year-to-date total into positive territory with 103,094 deliveries representing a 0.3% expansion. Asia was positive across the board, with the Chinese market posting a serious gain of 18.2% to 59,169 units delivered in April; China is now up 12.1% for 2019, with 227,603 units sold there this year.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]