BMW North America Chief, Ludwig Willisch, sat down with WardsAuto at the 2015 NYC Auto Show to talk about the U.S. market and what it means for BMW. Willisch says the number one spot in sales has the power to attract buyers to the brand.
“Being number one plays a role in attracting some buyers,” he says of the automaker’s leadership in the luxury category. After Q1, BMW leads Mercedes in luxury sales by 5,956 units.
Willisch adds that BMW is growing at the same pace with the industry this year and especially with the faster growing luxury market.
The X1 SUV and the four-cylinder 320i will remain the entry-level models for BMW in America; both cars sell around $33,000. When questioned about a potential high-end BMW, like a 9 Series family, Willisch said is not eager for BMW to launch a Maybach fighter. He says BMW is content with competing against Mercedes in the super-luxury segment with its Rolls-Royce brand.
BMW X7 will be an important car for the U.S. market and Willisch is looking forward to more trucks being available. “We could sell more trucks if we had more,” Willisch said.
He predicts rising vehicle sales in Canada and Mexico this year, but sees the South American market holding steady at best. He also predicts that BMW will retain its market share in Brazil, despite a recession.
The topic of a new BMW HQ location came up as well, but Willisch is content with the N.J. location and has no plans to move down south, like its rival Mercedes who’s moving to Atlanta.
“We have no plans to alter our location,” Willisch says. “We need the right talent and logistics here in New Jersey.”