North American BMW deliveries took yet another beating in the second quarter. For the months of April, May, and June, when much of the U.S. was under strict lockdown measures to combat the global pandemic, BMW NA recorded a 39.5% decline in sales, from 93,020 units delivered a year ago, to 56,245. Figures lineup quite closely for BMW and MINI brands. BMW logged a year-over-year drop of 39.3%, from 83,8976 deliveries to just 50,957, while MINI posted a 41.5% decline, with sales dropping from 9,044 to 5,288.
BMW is not the only automaker posting double-digit declines for the second quarter. CNBC auto analyst Phil LeBeau reported that brands like Volkswagen and Honda were both down 29% and 28% in the U.S. for Q2. Elsewhere, Ford came in with a 33.5% drop, Fiat Chrysler 38.6%, and GM 40%. Toyota sales sank 34%, Audi was down 35%, while Nissan was perhaps the biggest loser with a decline of 48%. While BMW is not alone, it is on the higher end of the scale, with some automakers like Volvo reporting a decline of just 15%. Mercedes-Benz has not yet reported at the time of this writing.
Year to date, the BMW has seen sales sink 28.4%, from 153,203 units delivered during the first half of 2019, to 110,412 this year. MINI is down 38.5%, from 17,116 to 10,525.
Although every single MINI model logged a double-digit decline in sales for the second quarter, with results ranging from 31.1.% to 51.5%, the same was not true for the BMW brand. While the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series were down 40.3%, 60.4%, and 53.1%, respectively, the 2 Series was up 130.8% year-over-year, from 1,648 deliveries to 3,804—thank the new entry-level 2 Series Gran Coupé. The 8 Series also carded a gain of 89.9%, but again, much of this is likely attributable to four-door Gran Coupé becoming available.
The bulk of the X lineup was also down; the X3, X5, and X7 all witnessed sales drop 45.2%, 32.4%, and 38.4%, respectively. The only BMW X vehicle to post a gain was the X6 SAC, which saw sales rise from 947 to 1,207, or 26.8%, year-over-year. Like the 2 Series GC and 8 Series GC though, the numbers are skewed by availability, with the X6 having been in the midst of model changeover last year, when the previous generation was giving way to new.
The story is the same for pre-owned sales as well. BMW Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sales receded from 30,181 to 26,720 year-over-year for the second quarter, a decline of 11.5%. Year-to-date, BMW CPO sales are down 5.9%, from 57,663 to 54,262. Total BMW pre-owned sales declined 19.4% from 53,885 to 51,465 during the second quarter, which added to the year-to-date decline of 15.3%, from 123,241 deliveries to 104,418. MINI is suffering as well, with CPO deliveries dropping 39.7% from 3,570 to 2,153 year-over-year, and 29.8%, from 6,580 to 4,617, year-to-date. Total MINI pre-owned sales went from 8,133 to 5,250 during the second quarter, a 35.4% drop; year-to-date, the decline was 28.7%, from 15,199 to 10,840.
Even in the face of the most difficult sales environment in recent memory (including the 2008 housing-bubble fueled recession), BMW has found ways to adapt. The sales process for new and used cars was already moving online, and the circumstances of 2020 have only accelerated the shift to digital. BMW was quick to embrace new ways to sell and service cars. Dealerships are offering so-called invisible service, in which vehicles due for service are retrieved and returned without interaction, while new cars can be delivered directly to drivers. It is important to note, however, that practices vary widely between different states.
Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO, BMW of North America, connected the quick reworking of operational practices at the dealership level to sales that have increased “over each month of the quarter.” These developments are said to be stoking optimism for the second half of 2020, as the automaker continues to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of its employees, dealers, and customers.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]