BMW Group sales dip but EV uptake doubles

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Sales drop due to supply problems and lockdowns but EVs shine; best-selling Mini was Electric hatchback.

The BMW Group saw significant growth in electric car sales during 2022, but an array of obstacles prevented the company from matching the overall sales volumes it achieved in 2021.

In total, the BMW Group sold 2,399,636 cars during 2022, 4.8 per cent (121,878) fewer than in 2021. It attributed the shortfall to supply-chain problems, China’s continuing Covid lockdowns and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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These factors had a more severe impact during the first half of the year, said the BMW Group, with a strong second-half performance insufficient to mitigate their impact.

Sales of battery-electric vehicles more than doubled – up 107.7 per cent – compared with 2021, to 215,755. Particularly noteworthy was that Mini’s best-selling model was the Electric hatchback, accounting for 43,744 of its 292,923 deliveries.

The BMW Group’s EV sales are likely to grow significantly once again in 2023, following the launch of the BMW iX1 and BMW i7.

The unveilings of the BMW i5 and a new-generation Mini Electric are expected to stoke further interest over the coming year.

Meanwhile, pre-orders of the Rolls-Royce Spectre – that marque’s first EV – have exceeded its “most ambitious expectations”.

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The BMW brand accounted for the majority of the BMW Group’s sales during 2023, recording 2,100,692 deliveries. That represents a 5.1 per cent (113,098-car) reduction from 2021 levels but was still enough to maintain its position as the highest-volume premium brand, said BMW.

Despite the overall cut to BMW’s sales, its M performance sub-brand grew by 8.4 per cent in its 50th-anniversary year, shifting 177,257 cars for a second consecutive record year.

The launch of the first two electric M cars – the i4 M50 and iX M60 – as well as the new M240i Coupe contributed greatly to this success, BMW said. The brand’s first bespoke SUV, the XM plug-in hybrid, is expected to provide further growth in 2023, as are the new M2 Coupé and M3 Touring.

Sales of BMW’s electrified vehicles – those with a plug-in hybrid or battery-electric powertrain – were also strong, growing by 44,640 to 372,956.

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BMW and Mini sales fell in every market during 2022, with the most significant percentage drop of 7.5 per cent coming in Europe (excluding Germany).

Asia was BMW and Mini’s highest-volume market, with the brands combining for 1,028,105 sales there during 2022 – a 3.5 per cent (37,036-car) reduction year on year.

Europe (excluding Germany) was the brands’ next-largest region, accounting for 877,369 sales – a 7.5% reduction. This market is likely to have been disproportionately affected by the BMW Group’s exit from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

China followed in third place with 791,985 deliveries, a 6.4 per cent shortfall compared with 2021, as strict Covid lockdowns stifled local production output and customer demand.

The Americas (excluding the US) accounted for 439,585 sales, a 2.3 per cent slump, followed by the US with 361,892 (-1.3 per cent) and Germany with 252,087 (-6.0 per cent).

As for luxury marque Rolls-Royce (which is driven by profit, rather than volume), it sold more than 6000 cars for the first time in 2022, setting a new record.

Customisation was key to Rolls-Royce’s success in its second consecutive record year: every car it sold was a bespoke commission, with the average topping £430,000 ($758,000).

The British firm’s order bank stretches well into 2023, said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

Pieter Nota, BMW Group board member responsible for customer, brands and sales, said: “We will maintain our course for profitable growth in 2023. The clear focus will be on continuing to ramp up electromobility.

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“The next milestone for 2023 is for 15% of our total sales to come from fully electric vehicles. With the launch of the BMW i5 later this year, we’re taking another important step on the road to electrifying our model line-up.”

Through 2023, BMW will provide further details on its Neue Klasse EVs, expected to usher in the brand’s standardisation of electric power. It provided a first glimpse of the models at CES this month with the i Vision Dee concept, understood to preview the Neue Klasse BMW 3 Series.

The BMW Group will also flesh out its plans to transition to the agency sales model. This is where a manufacturer sells its product directly to the customer, rather than through a middleman, such as a dealer. Mini will adopt the model from 2024, with BMW following in 2026.

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