The No. 1 seller of premium cars introduced limited Lunar Year of the Horse editions of its M-model sedans aimed at China’s luxury customers amid slowing growth in the second-largest economy.
Clyde Zhu, BMW China’s vice president of marketing, said in an interview in Beijing the M-model cars are part of the Horse edition series of vehicles BMW will start selling in China this year, which include additions to the company’s 3- and 7-series, and a new model, details of which he declined to reveal, in the fourth quarter.
The introduction of BMW’s highest-priced cars in China comes at a time when President Xi Jinping has ordered officials to curb lavish spending and stepped up investigations into graft as the Communist Party pushes an austerity drive. Luxury spending in the nation last year rose at the slowest pace since at least 2000, according to Bain & Co., as demand for items from Swiss watches to expensive liquor slumped.
The BMW M6 runs on a V8 engine and goes from zero to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour in 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour, the Munich-based company said. The company is offering six units of the M6 priced at 2.77 million yuan ($458,000) each and 30 M5 models costing 1.98 million apiece. The cars feature a monogram of the Chinese character for horse on the headrests and play up BMW’s Chinese name, which means “precious horse.”
Deliveries in China climbed 20 % for the carmaker last year, outperforming the passenger vehicle market’s 16 % growth. Sales of BMW’s M models made up fewer than one percent of the group’s China total in 2013 and the car will remain a niche product, Zhu said.