In an interview for Automotive News, BMW sales boss Ian Robertson talks about the market changes around the globe.
While showing double digits growth in the last few years, the Chinese market has slowed down and presents some challenges for premium automakers, like for example dealers having to rely more heavily on selling used cars rather than new models.
Robertson says regulations are a roadblock to new car sales. Earlier this year, Shenzhen became the eighth Chinese city to restrict the number of new registration plates issued each year. One way for Chinese customers to adapt to the regulations is to sell the old cars and use the registration plates on new vehicles.
Chinese dealers are also adapting by creating a medium for used car sales to flourish, a reversed situation from past years.
BMW is also supporting dealers by helping them develop the F&I (finance and insurance) business.
China’s crackdown on corruption has put on guard some high net worth individuals who are now keeping a lower profile.
BMW i3 sales in China are a challenge as well, mostly because of the infrastructure. “The Chinese government offers good incentives, but the charging infrastructure is weak and that’s a problem,” Robertson said. “It’s not like in the US where you can pull into the driveway and plug into the mains – letting down a 200-foot cable from the window of your 20th-storey apartment is not so easy.”
In Europe, UK is a high-growth market, while U.S. sales continue to be strong.