First-quarter BMW Group sales slid 6.2% year-over-year to 596,907, with the company citing the continued unrest in Europe and pandemic-induced lockdowns in China as primary contributing factors. The decrease in deliveries during the first quarter of 2022 follows a record-setting year which included a record-setting first-quarter. This time last year, the BMW Group sold a total of 636,606 BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce vehicles, which translated to a 33.5% year-over-year gain from 2020, and the best first quarter in the automaker’s history.
The difficult first quarter did not seem dampen sales of BMW’s electric vehicles or its various M and M Performance models. Highlights include sales of fully-electric BMW and Mini models such as the i4, iX, and Mini SE growing 149.2% year-over-year, thanks to 35,289 deliveries which accounted for 5.91% of first-quarter BMW Group sales. Deliveries of BMW M models increased 3.1%, to 39,055, and accounted for 6.54% of sales.
“Our clear focus is on ramping up electromobility. In the first quarter, we stepped up the rapid pace of growth from 2021 even further and are fully on track to meet our ambitious growth targets for fully-electric vehicles in 2022,” said Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for customer, brands, sales. “The demand for our emotional and innovative products with a wide range of drivetrains covering all customer needs, remains high worldwide. Thanks to this strong product line-up and our high level of flexibility and operational excellence, we expect sales for the full year 2022 to be on a par with last year, despite the challenging global environment,” Nota continued.
BMW Group Brand Sales
Naturally, the BMW brand accounted for the overwhelming majority of BMW Group sales, and saw deliveries decline 7.3% from the first quarter of last year to 519,796, or 87.08% of BMW Group sales. Nevertheless, any quarter in which BMW sells more than half a million cars can’t be too bad, and the company says the 4 Series was particularly impressive. The entire range of the second-generation 4 Series is now available (including the coupe, Gran Coupé, and convertible), and deliveries nearly doubled year-over-year thanks to 27,704 sold during the first quarter. That’s quite a few of the controversial new 4 Series on the road, and the model range accounted for more than 5% of BMW brand sales in the first quarter.
As we mentioned above, sales of BMW Group fully-electric vehicles, a new term which solely encompasses electric vehicles (instead of hybrids as well, like the previous BMW Group Electrified) jumped 149.2% year-over-year, with 35,289 vehicles sold. That figure includes vehicles like the BMW i4, iX, and iX3, along with the Mini SE. This year, BMW plans to introduce various other electric versions of well-known models, including an iX1 and an i7. The automaker introduced a locally-manufactured electric version of the 3 Series with a long wheelbase exclusively for the Chinese market last week, and says an electric 5 Series is on the way for the rest of the world. During the course of 2022, BMW also claims it will have a total of fifteen fully-electric vehicles in production, but that number also includes pre-production versions of the models mentioned above and others we don’t know about yet.
Although much of BMW’s first-quarter sales press release focused on electromobility, the automaker actually sold more M and M performance automobiles than electric vehicles during the first three months of 2022. Sales for BMW M GmbH increased 3.1% during the first quarter, thanks to 39,055 deliveries. Compared with the 35,289 electric BMWs sold, which accounted for 5.91% of BMW Group sales, the 39,055 M vehicles were responsible for 6.54% of BMW Group sales. The sales success of BMW M over the past few years comes with a caveat, however. BMW M sales figures now include deliveries of both conventional M cars like the M3 and M4, for example, along with those for M Performance automobiles like the M240i, M340i, M440i, X3 M40i, and Z4 M40i, for example. The new M240i coupe, which is made in BMW’s new plant in Mexico, was said to be a primary growth driver—along with the i4 M50, which is included in BMW M sales numbers.
The Mini brand reported first-quarter sales of 75,487 vehicles, a 1.1% gain year-over-year. Of those 75,487 deliveries, 8,925, or 11.82% were of the electric Mini SE. Rolls-Royce had its best first quarter ever, with deliveries of 1,624 vehicles representing a 17.7% increase. BMW says the Rolls-Royce order book now stretches into early 2023 in terms of delivery. BMW Motorrad also had its best-ever first quarter, with sales of 47,403 units translating to a year-over-year increase of 11.1%.
Regional BMW Group Sales
BMW of North America shared its first-quarter sales results last week, and reported a 3.7% gain thanks to deliveries growing from 77,718 to 80,590 in the U.S. BMW Group sales in the Americas increased 2.9% during the first quarter to 98,718. In Europe, the BMW Group saw sales shrink 7.8% with 220,076 deliveries. BMW’s home market of Germany witnessed a first-quarter decline of 9.4% from the sale of 61,552 units. In China, deliveries dropped 9.2% to 208,257 thanks to ongoing pandemic related restrictions, including the temporary halting of production at BMW Brilliance Automotive plants in Shenyang. China, the largest automotive market in both the region and the world, dragged the rest of Asia down, which reported 264,235 deliveries representing a 7.9% decline.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]