The coronavirus pandemic is still disrupting the automotive industry as delivery times continue to be longer compared to pre-2020 levels. Automakers have been facing new problems caused by the unstable geopolitical generated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thus creating a perfect storm. Add into the mix high inflation and the European Union’s decision to rely less on gas imported from Russia, many experts believe it’s only a matter of time before there will be a recession in Germany.
During an event organized by weekly business news magazine Wirtschaftswoche, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse firmly declared “there will be a recession” in the company’s home market. However, he isn’t overly concerned: “It always sounds so dramatic. But we just don’t grow anymore for a while. So, the world doesn’t end there when a recession comes. That’s what we are for we’ve grown over the last ten years.”
Indeed, BMW managed to beat the odds in 2021 by posting its best annual sales results ever despite a car market still negatively impacted by COVID-19. The whole group – which includes MINI and Rolls-Royce, with ALPINA to join from 2026 – sold a combined 2,521,525 cars. That said, the first half of 2022 wasn’t great as deliveries dropped by 13.3% compared to H1 2021.
BMW’s head honcho doesn’t expect the company’s production to suffer downtime due to a lack of gas. In a recent interview with German regional daily newspaper Augsburger Allgemeinen, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann also stated he doesn’t think operations will be interrupted by gas shortages. Per Germany’s Federal Network Agency, gas storage facilities were at 87.95% full last weekend. Should gas supply become an issue, the head honcho in Ingolstadt anticipates there could be production bottlenecks in paint shops and at some of its suppliers.
In the meantime, BMW has some new metal on the showroom floor, with products such as the 3 Series LCI, the next-generation 7 Series, and the X7 LCI. The hotly anticipated XM debuts on September 27, with the new M2 and 3.0 CSL to arrive before the year’s end. In 2023, some of the new models we’re going to see include the next 5 Series / i5 and facelifted X5 / X6.