BMW Claims Leadership in Worldwide Premium Car Market

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Germany’s BMW Group announced Friday morning that the company had its best-ever sales year in 2017. That marks the seventh consecutive year that annual sales have set new records.

The company reported BMW-brand sales of 2.09 million units in 2017, up 4.2% year over year. Rival Mercedes-Benz said earlier this week that it sold 2.29 million Mercedes-Benz-branded vehicles in 2017, up 9.9% for the year.

BMW also sold 80,795 of its BMW M-brand high-performance cars and 103,080 electrified vehicles (BMW i-branded). The company’s MINI brand posted a sales gain of 3.2% year over year to 371,881 units. Sales of Rolls-Royce automobiles fell 16.2% to 3,362 units.

Full-year sales rose the most in mainland China, up 15.1% to 594,388 units, while sales rose 6.2% in Japan and 5.9% in Latin America. European sales rose 0.9% to 1.1 million units to maintain the continent’s position as the volume sales leader. German sales rose 0.8% to 311,071, and U.S. sales fell 3.4% to 352,790.

The company said the decline in sales to the Americas was the result of limited availability of the BMW X compact sport utility vehicles. Including six models ranging from the X1 to the X6, the vehicles carry base manufacturer’s suggested retail prices of $33,900 (X1) to $62,950 (X6). U.S. sales rose 3.7% year over year in December

According to Kelley Blue Book data, the X1 sold nearly 31,000 units in the United States last year, the X3 sold nearly 41,000 and the X4 sold about 5,200. The midsize X5 and X6 sold nearly 51,000 and about 6,800 units, respectively, in 2017. With the exception of the X4, all BMW X models posted double month-over-month digit market share gains of between 24% for the X5 to 59% for the X1.

Depending on which German luxury car maker you choose to believe, either Mercedes-Benz or BMW was the worldwide sales leader in the premium (luxury) category. Mercedes-Benz car sales for 2017 totaled 2,424,369 units, up 8.8% compared to 2016 sales. BMW Group total 2017 automotive sales reached 2,463,526. Mercedes-Benz gets the nod on sales of a single badge, but BMW sold more cars all told.