China, the world’s largest auto market, is turning away from the profit powerhouse position it had for German luxury automakers, as the global companies battle slowing sales and the increase in competitiveness.
BMW AG, the world’s largest premium carmaker, is now mulling the unleash of a major model offensive, with numerous redesigned and upgraded versions of its sedans and sports utility vehicles scheduled to land in China later this year, in a bid to counter weakening deliveries and the offensive of smaller peer Mercedes-Benz. Global automakers, either mass market or luxury segment representatives, are gearing up to cope with the soaring pressure in the world’s largest auto market, which has seen growth predictions this year fall from seven percent a few months back to just three percent now. BMW also has to shore up its models from the increased pressure of Mercedes-Benz’s younger model lineup – even its local joint venture partner, Brilliance China Automotive Holdings recently announced it was predicting a profit fall as it incurs lower earnings from the partnership.
The Munich-based automaker is going to introduce the all-new generation of its top of the line 7 Series sedan sometimes during the fourth quarter, followed by the redesigned 3 Series later this year, according to a China-based spokesperson. The automaker would also introduce new, entry-level variants of the X5 and X6 sport utility vehicles, though additional details on these were not provided. The SUV segment has remained a growth stronghold, but with consumers mostly favoring smaller, affordable models instead of the higher priced, imported, X5 and X6 models.