China overtakes US as BMW’s biggest market image

Sales by German premium carmaker BMW in China rose 20 % last year to overtake the United States as the group’s biggest market.

The company said in a statement that BMW sold a record 390,713 BMW and Mini cars in China last year, up 19.7 % from a year earlier, outpacing the overall market growth of 13.9 %. Its 2013 U.S. sales were up 8.1 % to 375,782.

Shrugging off the negative impacts from the anti-extravagance campaign initiated by President Xi Jinping last year, more Chinese consumers are buying premium cars from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz as they get richer and seek more exclusivity.

“We achieved our 2013 targets, but it is even more satisfactory that the volume growth was backed by solid substance in every aspect of our work,” Karsten Engel, CEO of BMW Group Region China said in the statement. “This proves our China strategy worked well and it will be adhered to in this year continuously.”

Engel said the group will introduce more than 10 new models in China, including its electric BMW i3, this year. BMW will also expand its dealer network and ramp up local production of vehicles through its Chinese joint venture.

China’s premium car market will grow at an annual rate of 12 % through 2020, and overtake the United States as the world’s biggest market for luxury cars as early as 2016, according to consultancy McKinsey & Co.

Via Reuters