There is not even a hint of a slowdown in the region’s premium car sales, with the BMW Group confirming a 22 per cent growth in the first half to tally 12,657 units (including those pulled in by Mini). The UAE and Saudi Arabia continued to provide the ballast, with the former making up 49 per cent.
But it was not just a two-market story, according to Dr. Joerg Breuer, regional managing director, BMW Group . Even Lebanon managed to pull out a 10 per cent plus year-on-year volume gain despite the tense situation on its border and, in recent weeks, within as well.
“Overall, it’s again a question of how well regional economies are doing and there is no reason to suggest this will change, and enough for the momentum to continue in the second half,” said Breuer.
On the launch side, the second half will see BMW not just come out with new models but also a brand new series under the “4” umbrella. The first model, a coupe, is scheduled for a September arrival.
It gets more interesting on the “sports activity” range, with a brand new version of the X5 due and early next year, with the brand new X4. The X3, X5 and X6 are shipped in from the US plant. “Our decisions on where to source from are based on the model and whether it can suit the demand from a particular market or territory,” said Breuer.
He was responding to whether BMW saw any cost benefits from shipping in from a dollar-denominated source rather than solely from its German plants. (Many car makers have moved to multi-region sourcing arrangements to circumvent the exchange rate volatility as well as reduce dependence on any one particular region, as was the case with Japanese manufacturers post the 2011 tsunami in Japan.)
In the first-half, the 5 Series had the maximum volumes with 2,739 units (up 8 per cent year-on-year) and followed by the 7 Series with 2,200 units (a gain of 22 per cent and bolstered by a few blue-chip corporate fleet deals).
Ticking along nicely and bringing up the rear is the Mini line-up, which recorded an 11 per cent gain in volumes to 773 units. The all-wheel drive four-door Countryman accounted for 46 per cent of Mini sales and there was a nice build-up of demand for the newly introduced Paceman. Currently, there are seven models within the Mini range.