Last year, BMW lost its premium car sales crown, as Tesla stole it away. To be fair, Tesla ran away with the premium sales title in the U.S., selling far more cars than any other premium brand. However, BMW may have started picking up steam toward the end of 2022, momentum it might still be carrying into this new year. According to Kelley Blue Book, BMW was the most considered luxury brand in Q4 2022 by customers.
KBB’s Brand Watch report showed that 22 percent of luxury car buyers shopped for BMWs in Q4 2022, while the percentage of customers shopping for Teslas dropped into the single digits. That’s a huge percentage swing toward the end of last year, as Tesla had dominated for most of 2022. The U.S. EV brand didn’t even come in second place behind BMW, as Lexus took that spot with 19 percent. The number three, shockingly but also encouragingly, went to Cadillac with a whopping 18 percent.
To show how far Tesla fell from grace in the fourth quarter of 2022, it dropped all the way to eighth place, with only 9 percent of luxury customers shopping for Teslas. The only two brands to get less customer attention were Volvo and Lincoln. It’s hard to say why Tesla fell off a cliff, in terms of customer engagement, toward the end of last year but there’s a real possibility that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, and very controversial public statements, drove some customers away. That’s the downside of having such a public CEO.
Interestingly, the most shopped BMW wasn’t what you might think. Despite our SUV-crazy market, here in the U.S., the most considered BMW in Q4 of 2022 was actually the 3 Series. Which, I must admit, does fill me with some hope for the future. Though, that likely had to do with the 3 Series LCI, which gave it a new face and new tech, making it far more desirable. Admittedly, the 3 Series came in fifth place among all cars considered by customers in the U.S. and the four top spots did go to SUVs. But at least the most considered BMW was a 3 Series, as it should be. Right behind it, in sixth place, was the X5, though. And then, in ninth place, was the BMW 5 Series.
It seems as though BMW is still a highly desirable brand among premium buyers, even with EV brands like Tesla gaining some serious traction. Hopefully for BMW, that trend continues, especially after it launches more EVs, and it can carry its late 2022 momentum into this year.