The worldwide sales of BMW grew by 4% in May 2015 to 159,129 vehicles even with the sales decline in China as the brand benefited from the high demand in the U.S. and the continuing recovery in Europe. In a statement, BMW said that the group (BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce) had its best May ever as their combined sales increased by 5.9% to 188,287 vehicles.
A 4.3% increase was recorded in the U.S. for BMW and its brands with 36,931 vehicles sold in May 2015, compared to the previous year. From the start of the year until May, BMW brand sales went up 10% to 161,008 vehicles amid a 4.5% increase in the market. In China, the combined sales of the BMW and Mini brands fell 4.2% to 37,456 vehicles in May compared with the same month a year ago.
The automaker further revealed that BMW brand's volume in China decreased by 5.5% to 34,870 vehicles in May while Mini's sales increased by 18% to 2,587 units in the same month.
A BMW spokeswoman said that sales of the BMW brand fell last month in China because of the market's ongoing normalization process. May 2015 was also two days short of the number of sales days last year. She also said that BMW had expected the decline to take place, considering how strong sales had been in May 2014.
It was in January 2005 that BMW last posted a month’s sales that didn’t surpass the previous year’s monthly total sales. Notably, this was also the time that the combined BMW and Mini sales didn’t exceed the previous year's monthly total. The launch of Mini’s new three- and five-door hatchbacks pushed up the brand’s worldwide deliveries by 18% to 28,831 units.
BMW said that helping drive up sales was the rising demand for X5 (with a 25% increase) and the X6 (with a 44% boost). So far for this year, BMW’s i subbrand had sold 10,490 units. Of those, 8,256 units were of the i3 compact hatchback while 2,234 units were of the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar.
The challenges that the BMW Group are encountering in China include a move by the government to restrict the prices of luxury cars, an economy that’s cooling down, a trial program that allows unauthorized dealers to sell imported cars, and tensions with Chinese dealership groups.
Nevertheless, China is still BMW Group’s biggest market. It reported a 3% increase in the first five months to 190,427. That growth includes the BMW brand's 3.3% increase to 179,133 units from January to May of this year.
In this period, BMW brand sales went up 5.2% to 759,609 while Mini sales grew by 26% to 129,910 units. The Group sold 890,937 units, marking a 7.7% increase.