For every story about the impoverished, the unemployed and the starving around the world, there is one about the lives of the rich and famous. Billionaire lists offset those of African farms blighted by drought. The rich and poor are in an odd balance, at least as far as the media are concerned.
One of the most widely noted pieces of business news recently is the epic January sales of BMW, which rose sharply. And what better yardstick of how the wealthy are doing? BWM is the preeminent luxury car company in the world.
The German firm made the following announcement:
The BMW Group continued its positive momentum into the new year with sales increasing by 9.9% in January. A total of 123,276 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles were delivered to customers (prev. yr. 112,164).
Car companies like to brag if they do well in the world’s largest market for autos and light trucks:
In January, in Asia, deliveries climbed 18.4% to 43,114 (prev. yr. 36,422) vehicles. The double-digit growth continued in Mainland China, with a total of 30,397 (prev. yr. 26,505) vehicles delivered last month — an increase of 14.7%.
Not every large manufacturer has done as well in the People’s Republic recently. Auto sales in the country have flat-lined as tax incentives for purchases have dropped, and perhaps in a very few cases, air pollutions have slowed sales.
It is too much to say that the economic activity of any one global company is a leading indicator, even if that company is as large as conglomerate General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) or auto giants General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM). However, BMW ownership is rarely the byproduct of middle class wealth, if it can be called that.
The rich buy and own BMWs. Based on the company’s sales, those rich around the world are doing fine.