The core BMW brand reported last week rising sales, but its unit working in China was also hit with the first delivery drop there in over a decade, losing 5.5 percent in May in the world’s largest single auto market.
The company’s fortune was a little more optimistic when also taking into consideration the Mini brand, with its deliveries jumping 17.8 percent, though BMW China still posted a loss of 4.2 percent, which turned up after April’s sales only edged up by 0.6 percent. The past instance the core passenger car brand saw a decline and the combined sales of BMW and Mini were negative was in January 2005, according to a company spokesperson, adding the situation was also exacerbated by the month’s two fewer selling days. But BMW is under constant pressure in China now, with the economy creeping to its slowest pace since the 1990s, the government still intent on lowering luxury auto prices, a prototype program for unauthorized dealers to sell imported cars and escalating tensions with its Chinese dealer partners.
Meanwhile, on a global level the brand fared much better, with the namesake brand rising 4 percent last month to 159,129 units, as the growth in Europe was lifted by the ongoing recovery and the Americas brought strong demand. Group sales were also announced last week up 5.9 percent to 188,287 autos, with the best possible performance for any May in the carmaker’s history. In the US, BMW and Mini inched up 4.3 percent and the combined sales of the two brands in Europe jumped 8.4 percent.