Global sales : May 2009: BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz

Others | June 11th, 2009 by 17
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BMW sales in North America have seen an increase in May, 27% down when compared to the same period a year ago, but still climbing …

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BMW sales in North America have seen an increase in May, 27% down when compared to the same period a year ago, but still climbing from previous months. Despite the current economic situation, globally, BMW Group sold 109,042 vehicles in May.

This sales decrease of -18.3% was more moderate than in most of the previous months and gives BMW the possibility to position themselves better in the second half of this year.

Now many of you might wonder how were the BMW sales compared to the some of its main competitors, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

We already learned that BMW has outsold Lexus taking the top seller position of luxury vehicles in the United States, but let’s take a look at some more numbers:

Company May Numbers Percentage Year-To-Date Percentage
BMW 90,643 -18.1% 408,370 -20.9%
MINI 18,348 -19.1% 79,260 -22.6%
Rolls-Royce 51 -53.6% 276 -27.6%
BMW Group 109,042 -18.3% 487,906 -21.1%
Mercedes-Benz 86,300 -12.1% 383,000 -22.3%
Smart 11,000 -14.9% 50,100 -9.9%
MB Cars 97,300 -12.4% 433,100 -21.1%
Audi AG 82,800 -6.1% 374,750 -12.1%

For those of you looking for more data mining, here are some excerpts from the official press releases:

In May sales of the BMW brand were down 18.1% on the previous year (110,707) at 90,643 units. For the year to the end of May, deliveries to customers decreased 20.9% to 408,370 vehicles (prev.yr.: 515,989). The new BMW Z4 is off to an excellent start – it has already been delivered to 2,365 customers since its launch on 9 May. The BMW 7 Series also remained on its growth track: 3,370 (prev.yr.: 3,321 / +1.5%) vehicles were sold worldwide in May. In its important domestic market, Germany, the brand’s flagship was the clear market leader in the luxury sedan segment with 801 new registrations in May. The BMW X6 also made further gains in the month under review, with 3,625 units (prev.yr.: 1,734 / +109.1%) delivered.

Sales of the MINI brand were 19.1% lower in May than for the same month last year (22,685) at 18,348 units; for the year to the end of May, 79,260 MINI (prev.yr.: 102,364 / -22.6%) vehicles were delivered to customers. In Germany, MINI increased its sales volume by 11.8% (3,569 / prev.yr.: 3,193) in the month under review. The brand made gains in countries such as China (350 / +48.9%), New Zealand (26 / +30,9%), Malaysia (20 / +33,3%) and Switzerland (447 / +0.2%). 25,000 MINI fans from around the world celebrated the brand’s 50th birthday at the MINI United Festival at the Silverstone racetrack in the U.K. from 22-24 May 2009. Two new jubilee models, which will join the model range in September, were also part of the Silverstone line-up. There is a choice of two petrol engines or a diesel engine for both the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden which will be launched in September 2009. Production of the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden will begin exactly 50 years after the classic Mini was officially released, and will be limited to one year.

In Germany, Mercedes-Benz sold 25,600 vehicles in May (May 2008: 23,100) and increased sales by 11 percent. In addition to the boost from the new E-Class, the A- and B-Class also contributed to the growth in sales. Around 5,300 customers bought an A-Class vehicle in Germany in May (May 2008: 3,400), representing an increase of 54 percent. Deliveries of B-Class vehicles rose by 27 percent to 3,900 units (May 2008: 3,000). Sales in the A- and B-Class segment totaled 18,900 units worldwide, remaining largely unchanged from the same month last year (May 2008: 19,000). The smart fortwo posted a sales increase of 26 percent in Germany with 3,200 units sold in May (May 2008: 2,600). Since the beginning of the year, customers have bought 50,100 units of the innovative two-seater worldwide (January-May 2008: 55,500, minus 10 percent). The smart fortwo is now in the third year of its lifecycle. Mercedes-Benz in May was able to gain market shares in key Western European markets, such as Spain, France and the UK.

“The new E-Class has met with an outstanding customer response,” says Dr. Klaus Maier, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We expect sales to receive a further boost in the coming months from the introduction of the new E-Class to other important markets such as China and the U.S., as well as from the launch of the new E-Class coupe and the face lifted S-Class.” As was the case in April, the first month after the vehicle’s launch, the new E-Class was once again the market leader in Germany in May. “The new S 400 HYBRID has also gotten off to a great start,” says Maier. “In fact, around 15 percent of S-Class customers have opted for the hybrid version even before it officially hits showrooms on June 26.” In May, the S-Class was once again the world’s best-selling luxury sedan.

In China, Mercedes-Benz posted another sales record in May. At 5,200 units (May 2008: 3,300), vehicle sales were up by 59 percent. As a result, Mercedes-Benz continues to grow fastest. In Brazil, sales of Mercedes-Benz have risen by 39 percent since the beginning of the year, to 1,900 units (January–May 2008: 1,300). Mercedes-Benz continues to surge ahead in Canada as well. In the first five months of the year, the brand posted record sales of 9,400 units (January-May 2008: 8,100), representing an increase of 17 percent.

Worldwide, AUDI AG sold about 82,800 premium vehicles in the past month, down just 6.1 percent on the previous year’s record result (2008: 88,168 vehicles). In the first five months of 2009, Audi sold about 374,750 vehicles, 12.1 percent less than in the previous year (January to May 2008: 426,194).

In Western Europe, the brand further reduced the gap to last year’s record result with about 52,650 vehicles sold in May (-10.9 percent; 2008: 59,093 vehicles). From January to May, Audi sold about 243,250 vehicles here (-14.6 percent; 2008: 284,656 vehicles). Despite generally shrinking markets, Audi sold more vehicles in May than in the previous year in several European countries, including Italy (+7.1 percent; 5,145 vehicles), Belgium (+7.3 percent; 2,899 vehicles), Austria (+17 percent; 1,606 vehicles) and Switzerland (+7.6 percent; 1,578 vehicles). In Europe (excluding Germany), the premium brand’s market share rose to 3.9 percent in May (overall market share in 2008: 3.7 percent).

Audi gained important market share in the United States as well. The brand strengthened its position in the premium market by two percentage points to attain an 8.8 percent share (within the so called Import High Group). Audi posted the smallest decline in the premium segment in May, down 12.1 percent to 7,503 vehicles (2008: 8,534 vehicles). Audi of America delivered 30,321 vehicles to customers in the United States during the first five months of the year (-17.7 percent; 2008: 36,820 vehicles).

In the Asia-Pacific region, Audi achieved strong growth, selling about 15,650 vehicles there in the past month, up 24.1 percent over May 2008 (2008: 12,607 vehicles). In year-on-year comparison, sales were up 5.4 percent in the period from January to May (about 68,500 vehicles; 2008: 64,998 vehicles). In China (including Hong Kong) the brand with the four rings posted record figures once again in May. Sales rose for the third consecutive month, up 27.8 percent in year-on-year comparison with 12,435 vehicles sold. From January to May, Audi sales were up 6.8 percent with 53,601 vehicles sold (2008: 50,180 vehicles). Thus, Audi confirmed its position as longstanding leader in the premium segment. Good sales performance in other markets in the region such as Australia (+14.4 per-cent; 943 vehicles) and South Korea (+34.8 percent; 601 vehicles) drove sales results upward as well.

17 responses to “Global sales : May 2009: BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz”

  1. Lance says:

    I don’t care whether BMW is outselling Lexus or not. That’s not the point. Worldwide, Lexus is a peanut. However, this is bad news for BMW as BMW is constantly losing market share to Audi, which should be such a slug company that their sales shoul only account for a fraction of BMW’s. Yet they are stealing sales successfully from BMW AND on top of that, their sales volume is almost on par with BMW.

    This is a large alarm bell warning. Audi is making cars and marketing their products that are perceived to be sporty, trendy and classy. BMW needs to do more marketing of their products other than areas of efficient dynamics. Carry on making ugly cars that are seen to be uglier than rivals with non-premium looks like huge chunks of black plastics, etc., like the X1, X3 and their concentration of dll and boring pig nose design.

  2. Stoli says:

    Lance i agree with you 100%. nobody buys BMW for its practilce notes, BMW brand is 90% emotional buy and with cars like X1 and x3 that might be sold only and only becuase they are BMW the emotianal value of the Brand goes ireversably down. being real 100%, put a badge of any other brand on this ugly vehcles and i dont think that even their own designer will buy them. Shamefull and ugly is the strategy so far. looks bad and very woring

  3. The Lee says:

    Nobody buys BMWs because of practicality??? Sorry, but I can’t agree with that statement.

    For being higher-end cars, they’re extremely practical vehicles. Many of those individuals who have purchased an M3 would have likely gone after a Lotus Exige (or other) if they weren’t looking for some level of practicality.

    From personal experience, ~66% of every X3/X5 we see in the shop is LOADED with miscellaneous crap. Toys, sporting equipment, golf clubs, SCUBA gear, etc. Kind of a shame that people don’t utilize the practical capabilities of their BMWs…

    Does brand/reputation matter? Absolutely. Is it 90% of the reason people purchase certain vehicles? I wouldn’t go that far by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Lance says:

      The point is that in the premium market, these brands and products are not competing on practicality! Do you really think that the X3 is more practicle than the Q5 and the X5 is more practicle than the Q7, or vice versa. If I was in the market for an X3 type of vehicle, I would definately not consider an X3 just because it looks so ugly. I don’t know how people could have purcased the pre-facelift X3 with those ugly huge black bumpers that make the car look worse than the cheapest car. If it wasn’t for the badge, it would have been something in the class of a Nano from Tata – you know those squarish cheap cars – the interior is terrible too. There is nothing premium about the X3, yet you are charging premium prices from a premium manufacturer. Audi has now become the trend worldwide and this is all because of BMW’s design and marketing failure. Their cars are still superior except for designs but the public does no perceive that to be the case.

      I don’t know if tht has got to do with the Strategy No. ONE that they are employing to cut costs amd boost profits taht they are neglecting the marketing of the core vlues of teh BMW Brand. Yes, fuel efficiency is important, but if that’s all that matters, I would have gone for the smallest engine from Toyota or Kia. People do not buy BMWs just because it is fuel efficient, it should be an added benefit. Premium cars should make people feel that they have something better than th rest with superior quality in all aspects that fit into the premium profile. But when BMW start to make cars that look uglier than the rest and have people frowning when looking at their products, this is a negative connotation. I have not heard of anyone describing Audi design as ugly…. only at the most – boring, which is a neutral mentality.

      The designs of current BMWs (e.g. X1) is no longer what they intended it to be when they started their aim to lead the market with futuristic designs. It is just plain mess of lines that some minority designers think is cool, yet the rest of teh world rejects. Can BMW afford to delibertaely make th car look uglier and cheaper than premium with huge chunks of black plastics? Can you afford to be different in an inferior manner? The arguement about X1 will sell no matter what because it is a BMW is flawed. Yes it will sell, but is it the best? What would happen when Audi’s Q3 comes out, which will definately be better looking than this X1? I am confident of that, it may be boring but at least it is not ugly and at least it will look premium and not something from Toyota that has got an Audi badge on it.

      BMW is just messing itself up. What’s the point of bring out a concept car if you are going to ignore what the majority of people’s opnion are and then bring the exact design straight into production (with even cheaper looking balck plastics)?? Potential buyers in the market ( which is only a few percent of the population) will care what others think about their cars even if they themselves think it is OK. The bottom line is that BMW’s X1 does not look like a premium car, this will be confirmed when the production version come out. Furthermore, it looks uglier than the non-premium cars. The only thing that would be lifting this is the BMW badge…. and this series of ugly cars are pulling the BMW brand down slowly but surely and letting others that are more conventional (like Audi) to succeed without much alteration. I wil not buy the X1 just because it is a BMW and I am a BMW fan… it looks inferior and does not fit the premium segment.

  4. Stoli says:

    IH lee, my statement “practical notes” not practicality. when somebody meses up the design and produce pile of metal, they try to made up with the practicle gadgets they put in the car! therefore i say the exactly same thing you say – BMW has practical gadgets – 1 milion of them, but for the BMW buyers when you mess the design like x1 or the curent x3 so much the practical notes (gadgets) will not help you as the emotional string to the car is lost – and you remain with practical things. Is this what BMW will remain with?

  5. Stoli says:

    HI i have BMW x1 it is ugly …..but very practicle and if you konw how to order one, might give you sporty spirit. this is statement of the future of BMW

  6. Stoli says:

    lets share some real facts – HI i’m proud owner of X6 it is not the most practicle car in the world, all the “rational journalist disagree with its existance” but everbody wants to own one and it sells. to the point of its rigidnes you can order X5 with 5 or 7 seats but you can not order x6 with 5 seats. (it is a metter of 1 simple bench) Still it sells. its hard to be convinced it is becuase of its practicality.

  7. Drizzy says:

    There’s a difference between “a majority of people’s opnion” (sic), i.e.internet arm-chair experts (who have a solution for everything) and the actual purchasers of these vehicles. They are the ones who get invited to consumer panels and get to vote on what they like/dislike. if it were soley up to self-proclaimed internet auto gurus BMW would only produce M3s and M5s.

    “BMW is just messing itself up. What’s the point of bring out a concept car if you are going to ignore what the majority of people’s opnion are and then bring the exact design straight into production (with even cheaper looking balck plastics)?? Potential buyers in the market ( which is only a few percent of the population) will care what others think about their cars even if they themselves think it is OK.”

  8. Sidney says:

    Amongst the big 3 german marques, the real driver will go for a BMW. Sheer driving performance puts BMW above Audi and Mercedes in the same price band. A BMW fans will stay with BMW and definitely will not change for an Audi. They may opt for an AMG Mercedes only if it costs less than a comparable model in the BMW line. Sheer driving pleasure and performance sets BMW from the other two oponents. As a matter of fact, a Mercedes owner will not change for an Audi but the converse is not the case. One who used to drive an Audi will likely to go for a BMW or Mercedes at the end.

  9. Porter says:

    “As a matter of fact, a Mercedes owner will not change for an Audi but the converse is not the case. One who used to drive an Audi will likely to go for a BMW or Mercedes at the end.”

    REALLY? And where do you get those statistics? Delusional fanboy crap like that is what will continue to be the downfall of BMW. Whether BMW is better than Audi or vice versa is a matter of opininon and nothing more. In many areas, Audi surpasses BMW as in other areas BMW surpasses Audi, but by not much. BMW has not answer for an R8 and so far Audi is loaded with cash to continue its agressive assault on the market. One who used to drive an Audi will not necessarily go for a BMW or MB and many BMW drivers have gone for Audis. I mean why drive a BMW “station wagon” which is nothing more than imitation of the class leading Audi Avants. Any RS model easily handle any M model. I mean the new M3 could barely beat the old RS4 riding on a 7 year old chasis and in certain comparos it lost. Audi has moved the game forward, BMW is not catching up. So keep on being delusional

    • Lance says:

      Porter, your comments seems to be more fanboy like than others here! I am a BMW fan, yet am very disappointed certain aspects about BMW and I admit that Audi is definitely coming up in the world, yet not in the class of MB and BMW.

      Here’s what I have to say about your comments:
      “BMW’s downfall will be attributable to fanboy crap like what’s been said on this blog” – Wakeup! How can BMW’s downfall be related in this way – Stop talking crap!

      Whether BMW is better than Audi is by no means an opinion – maybe for those with a lack of knowledge, it is a matter of opinion. It is also not difficult for you to get some solid stats for engines, performance, quality, reliability, etc. There are extensive research and awards out there to strongly confirm that BMW is a better car and company in general WORLDWIDE.

      I agree that in SOME areas Audi surpasses BMW – such as keeping its cost of producing a car low (simply because it is extensively using VW parts), marketing a borderline premium vehicle in a pure premium market, having a parent company’s cash to back its plans (BMW is purely independent), and advertising extemsively in spreading ideas about their cars being sporty and nimble when in actual fact they are anything BUT. Furthermore, how do you justify your statement about BMW surpassing Audi in some areas “by not much”??

      The matter is not that BMW has not got an answer for the ugly R8, it’s that it is not financially feasible to do so. Even for the VW Group, the R8 is currently not a profitable product when taking into account all except variable costs. However, the reason why VW has decided to make the R8 and continue production was because they are hoping that VW Audi’s brand image can improve to the levels of BMW (although many think it’s just wishful thinking). BMW on the otherhand is well known for its sporty vehicles with perfect handling. So what’s the point of making a loss on some project like this? Furthermore, BMW’s M vehicles are all exclusive products – you wouldn’t see the engne of the M3 being shoved in the back of a mid-engine car in a different car, unlike Audi just shoving th old RS4 engine in th R8. After the Efficient Dynamics Concept, do you really think that BMW does not have an answer for that outdated R8??? Everyone I asked said they’d take BMW’s Vision Efficient Dynamics over the R8 anyday becasue it looks just so much better AND bear in mind that it has the same performance as teh R8 using a 1.5 Diesel engine. So R8 is nt that successful afterall, especially with that pathetic steering feel – please, I’m not driving a truck!

      “I mean why drive a BMW “station wagon” which is nothing more than imitation of the class leading Audi Avants.” – class leading in what way? I think many would agree to: Why drive a VW badged with 4 rings when you can drive a top premium, class leading vehicle from the no.1 premium car company in the World, which happens to be an independent company as well? I mean, do you appreciate seeing all these VW and Seat badges all over your engine parts when you open your bonnet??? or do you enjoy your Audi A3 and A4 being recalled for turbo problems together with all VW Polos and Golfs?

      Don’t go down the M3 RS4 route – M3 around the track is miles ahead of RS$, M3’s engine is award winning for numerous times, not RS4. The only advantage is straight line speed due to the fact that Audi is cheating with 4 wheel drive, yet BMW’s traditional sports car layout is rear wheel drive only. Furthermore, so what if you have faster straightline acceleration but the car handles like a truck?

      I wonder who is catchingup who – the last time I checked, Audi was copying all that BMW is doing, enterig into every segment that BMW made like the X3, etc. They are the true copy cats like th Chinese manifacturers while BMWs are the leaders in teh industry – let’s see when Audi will bring out their copycat version of the 5GT

  10. Gregory says:

    Cheating with 4 wheel drive? What does that even mean? What sort of competition do you think these corporations engage in? You make it sound like some sort of sporting match where you have devised a set of rules that must be followed.

    These are 3 corporations driven by profit who (unlike US counterparts) thankfully understand value in quality and engineering.

    All have won several award (on various aspects – both subjective and objective) and all have a slightly different market approach – The Audi focus on safety (quattro) and luxury and a possibly a laziness in weight reduction causes understeer and some balance issues. I don’t think many people argue the handling prowess of RWD BMWs. The RS4 and R8, however, did not suffer from these problems.

    The Audi customer prefers an AWD car for safety and stability with a focus on luxury. Also, many like the understatement – it feels a little different than the BMW around every corner. I bought one because I liked the image better. It was about the same price as the comparable BMW so it wasn’t cost. It just felt better as a luxury car. I would also love to own a BMW and would consider it as a second car.

    I’m not sure where you came up with your information on the R8 but I can tell you it’s not correct. Also, your views on part sharing is a little naive.

    To me none of these arguments seem subjective. Instead they seem emotionally driven when an editorial slam on Audi that I’m not sure is justified.

  11. Ed says:

    My parents since the 80’s have proudly owned 8 to 9 BMW’s. All have them have been practical, reliable, and have never let us down. We had a 2001 CLK-430 which was in the shop at least once a month. Probable one of the WORST cars we have owned besides a Toyota Preva. BMW has been prove to sell more cars the Mercedes and Audi. Not to mention BMW’s also have been proven to be more reliable and cheaper to maintain the Mercedes and Audi. Also, BMW creates the ideas and Mercedes and Audi just take BMW’s ideas and make them their own. BMW has come a long way in their vehicle design. BMW’s look 1000 times better then The newer Audi’s and Mercedes (UGLY E-Class,C-Class,R-Class and on and on) Overall, BMW seems to be the better car company.

  12. audi buyers says:

    definitely prefer audi over bmw, resale and depreciation are also much more close now and probably stronger when it comes to diesel audis.

  13. GK says:

    Well, I may really tell that the new Audi A8 is a boring and also ugly car. Truely speaking, its interior is fabulous with some innovative designs but it is just an enlarged A4. I don’t agree with Audi’s designers, saying that the new A8 has sleek exterior designs. On the other hand, the new BMW designs, in my opinion, the new 5 series, and new x3 are not really beautiful cars : boring interiors (5 Series and 5GT has almost the same interior as the 7 Series) and the bottom design of the 5 series, apparently makes my think of Nissan’s infiniti. The 5GT is really the ugliest car of BMW I can tell, and many people agree. BMW still has good sales nowadays just because of its brand name, but after maybe 5 to 10 years, if it still doesn’t improve, Audi and Merc will definitely win the competition. For the upcoming cars for BMW , I truely hope that they would have better interior as well as exterior designs(the 6 Series and the Grancoupe), and I really hope that Vision couldbe produced in the near future. Let’s talk about the 7 Series again, it really does have great exterior design but it is just “as good as” the current S-class (newer than it for5 years and should be much better but not at all), for example it doesnt have seat adjustment at the back for 5 seaters and really dull at the back(passengers’ seats). Moreover, the seats are too big as my friend went for test drive one day and they are way too hard with no ventilation (extra option again! At this point, lexus is much better cause many extra options for BMW are standard on their cars). Moreover, it is really stupid as the 5 Series is almost as luxurious as the 7 Series excluding the legroom and the “7” badge at the back – what’s the reason for buying a 7 Series then? Why not a 5 Series – practically? The only cars with better outlook left are the ones designed by Chris Bangle.

    • Gregory says:

      The exterior of the A8 is disappointing. In pictures it does look like a large A4. That said, I just saw a new A8 in the dealership the other day and I really have to say that in the metal it is much better than photos. Up close it has a strong presence and feels at lot more imposing. It somehow feels a lot more special when it’s right in front of you. You can actually see the detail and scale that is lost in images. Certainly you can at least see the distinction from the A4. At least in my opinion.

  14. Appriximately how many BMW; MB; Lexus dealers are there in the United States??

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