BMW said its overall sales had increased by 18,2 per cent for the first six months of the year as a result of growing demand for its Mini, 3-Series and X5 sport-utility vehicles.
German manufacturer BMW said its overall sales had increased by 18,2 per cent for the first six months of the year as a result of growing demand for its Mini, 3-Series and X5 sport-utility vehicles.
According to , BMW brand sales rose to 82 186 units in June, just 1,1 per cent compared to the same month one year earlier.
In the first six months of the year, overall sales, including the Mini, were up 18,2 per cent to 543 742 units. Sales of the Mini for the first six months of the year totalled 62 412. Overall sales for the same period last year amounted to 459 855. This meant BMW was heading for a third consecutive year of record profit.
“We will exceed last year’s sales and profits,” said BMW chief executive Helmut Panke.
Panke said BMW’s strobng performance, particularly in the US, proved that its strategy of focusing solely on the up-market segment was paying off. “By concentrating on the premium market segment we have chosen a clear and fitting strategy for our company,” he said.
BMW said sales of the M version of the 3-Series and the Mini Cooper had been particularly strong.
Demand for premium brands in the US had actually increased during the first half of the year. “We are suffering because we cannot churn out the cars fast enough in the US,” said Michael Ganal, the board member in charge of marketing and sales.
BMW has predicted that demand for luxury cars will grow twice as fast as the demand for volume models.
Analysts said it would be interesting to see if smaller models such as the Mini and the much anticipated 1-Series would water down BMW’s margins at a later stage. The 1-Series, which will take on Volkswagen’s Golf 4, is due in 2004.
Earlier this week, BMW and its main competitor, Mercedes-Benz, become embroiled in a war of words amid claims that BMW had “recalculated” its US sales figures to boost its June market share.
reported that Mercedes had accused BMW of holding back sales in the US until last month in order to look good.
The allegations started after a routine circular by BMW to other manufacturers on July 1 listed its US month-end retail figures for June as 17 469 units. But a press release a day later listed its sales units for June at 19 868.
The newspaper obtained a confidential report in which Mercedes claims, “It is our belief that, upon receiving competitive market intelligence on June sales, BMW retailed additional units that it held back for this specific purpose”. BMW has denied the allegations.
Mercedes also claimed that BMW had offered its dealers incentives of up to $8 000 (R80 000) on certain models of the new 7-Series.