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BMW on pace to lead U.S. luxury sales for first time

May 20, 2002
BY JEFF GREEN
BLOOMBERG NEWS

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is on pace to pass Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus as the best-selling luxury automobile brand in the U.S. this year, helped by new models such as the redesigned 7 Series sedans.

For the first four months, the German automaker pulled ahead of Lexus, with 78,386 cars and light trucks to 75,164. The Toyota brand has led U.S. luxury sales the past two years. BMW has never been the annual leader.

BMW in recent years has "introduced lots of new models, staggered over time, and kept their lineup new," said Alan Baum, an analyst at Farmington Hills, Michigan-based automotive forecasting firm Planning Edge. "They've been impressive."

Gains of 55 percent for the 7 Series cars that debuted in the U.S. this year and 14 percent for the X-5 sport-utility vehicle introduced last year have helped BMW. That builds on an expansion that doubled BMW sales in the five years through 2001 to 213,127 vehicles. Its growth has been twice the luxury-brand average for the past three years, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.

The U.S. increases are contributing to the Munich-based automaker's expectations that it will sell more than 1 million vehicles this year and exceed 2001's record profit and sales.

"We're working flat out in most of our plants," BMW North America Chief Executive Officer Tom Purves said in an interview. "We're ahead of our own plans this year and if we keep running at this pace we'll probably ask for more cars from other markets."

BMW has taken the U.S. lead even as Lexus sales rose 6.9 percent through April from the year-ago period. DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz, which BMW passed last year to move up to second, has increased 8 percent to 68,694 cars and light trucks.

"It's a horse race, and we're monitoring the market closely," said Julie Alfonso, a spokeswoman for Torrance, California-based Lexus. "The ES (300) is the best-selling luxury sedan in the U.S. through April, and we're pleased with Lexus's sales increase so far this year."

New Mercedes E-Class sedans this fall may tighten the race among BMW, Lexus and the DaimlerChrysler unit, said Wes Brown, an analyst at Thousand Oaks, California-based Nextrend, which studies consumer trends for auto companies.

"It could really come down to the wire," he said.

European and Asian makers of luxury vehicles have used a combination of new sport-utility vehicles and updated versions of existing cars to take market share from General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac and Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln.

Since 1998, Lexus, Mercedes and BMW have moved ahead of the U.S. rivals. In that period, Cadillac and Lincoln's combined share of U.S. luxury-vehicle sales slid to 19.3 percent from 29.8 percent, according to Ward's. This year through April, Cadillac sales rose 9.8 percent to 54,776, while Lincoln fell 15 percent to 45,178.

BMW in March also added the Mini small car in the U.S. and sold 2,346 in the first two months. Even without the Mini, which the automaker lists as a separate brand, BMW has pulled ahead of Lexus. The company's U.S. unit is based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
 

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The more sales they make from their "bread and butter" cars, the more us enthusiasts get in the way of performance specials and such.

:thumb:
 

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Ex-Dictator
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Great news but there are some other stories I want to mention here.

As we all heard and read on various sites/magazines, the model designations are changing, ie Z3 is becoming Z4, 3 series coupes will probably be called the 4-Series etc.

This will definitely lead to price increase on all models. The question is of course whether we'll get 'more' car (hopefully not heavier or so but more driving dynamics) for 'more' $$$.
 

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Alex Baumann said:
Great news but there are some other stories I want to mention here.

As we all heard and read on various sites/magazines, the model designations are changing, ie Z3 is becoming Z4, 3 series coupes will probably be called the 4-Series etc.

This will definitely lead to price increase on all models. The question is of course whether we'll get 'more' car (hopefully not heavier or so but more driving dynamics) for 'more' $$$.
With a 4-series differentiating the Exx sedans from the coupes, I can see the coupes taking on a much more sport-oriented role, a position which they can safely take with the 6-series catering to the softer, more CLK-like clientele.
 

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Mystikal said:
I can see the coupes taking on a much more sport-oriented role,
I hope so :)

*No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up*............. :D
 

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Alex Baumann said:


I hope so :)

*No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up*............. :D
LOL, the prayers of every auto enthusiast on the Earth...

Hell, if they get the 380hp 3.0TT with the 6-speed under the hood, I could care less about what it looks like. :thumb:
 

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Mystikal said:


LOL, the prayers of every auto enthusiast on the Earth...

Hell, if they get the 380hp 3.0TT with the 6-speed under the hood, I could care less about what it looks like. :thumb:
Yes, we start to retrofit the trunks :D
 

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Mystikal said:
BTW, any news on the future of a successor to the M Coupe?
No, not yet. Still waiting for news about the Z5 which is supposed to be the next Z coupe.
 

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Gee, this is really gonna put a damper on TD's arguement that the 7 isn't selling. I'm sure he won't pick now to start letting facts get in the way of a good argument though.;)
 
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dasWolf said:
Gee, this is really gonna put a damper on TD's arguement that the 7 isn't selling. I'm sure he won't pick now to start letting facts get in the way of a good argument though.;)
I've said it before and I wish I didn't have to keep repeating it.

Any comparison of 7-series to anything except BMW's internal forecasts is irrelevent. Of course it will sell more than it's predecessor did last year. That car was an outgoing model. And of course it will sell more than the previous 7-series did at this time in it's model run because BMW as a whole is selling many times more cars in the US. Neither sales comparison is valid. But they make good spin.

I keep saying that time will tell.

What was posted here was a PRESS RELEASE which is strictly spin. There was no reference to any specific 7-series numbers in the press release except to say sales were up 55%. But 55% over WHAT? These press releases are truly open to broad distortions.

But, again, all that matters is whether the 7-series sales meet internal forecasts. Considering the rumors that are coming out of Munich re: the upcoming 5-series as well as the constant negative press on Bangle, I think you guys have your collective heads in the sand.

But, again, time will tell.
 

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Alex Baumann said:


I hope so :)

*No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up**No, Bangle won't mess it up*............. :D
You better add this to your chant......

*At least til my Alpina is built**At least til my Alpina is built**At least til my Alpina is built**At least til my Alpina is built**At least til my Alpina is built**At least til my Alpina is built*

:D

How much longer do you have to wait:dunno:
 

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TD said:


There was no reference to any specific 7-series numbers in the press release except to say sales were up 55%. But 55% over WHAT? These press releases are truly open to broad distortions.
I've got to believe that the numbers that they must be referring to are for those through the first 4 months of '02 against those for '01. Fred Meloan posted on the E65 board at .org on 1 May that BMW reported 7 series sales for the year through 30 April '02 of 6679, while for a comparable period in '01 the numbers for the 7er were 4307.

Considering that the E38 knowingly was a lame duck in '01 it's my opinion that this increase in 7er sales is nothing to write home about. It's modest, but not earth shattering.

I agree that only time will prove to be the true barometer of how successful the E65 will be.

My question is what vehicles is BMW including in this "Luxury" category? I know the 7 series and X5 models are included in this category, but what else?

BMW reported through 30 April '02 that 14,082 X5's were sold. Including the 7er sales this only accounts for 20,761 'Luxury' vehicle sales.

Doing some fancy cypherin' that leaves 57,625 vehicles that are unaccounted for. So what other series are included; E39 probably? :dunno:
 
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IndyMike said:

My question is what vehicles is BMW including in this "Luxury" category? I know the 7 series and X5 models are included in this category, but what else?
I'm thinking that they are including EVERYTHING. Even Z3 2.5s.

I've studied these sales press releases against the facts in the past and these claims are always really creative positive spin. Sure, there are no "false" statements but there are often rather misleading ones.

And it does look like you've nailed the source of the 55% reference. And, like you and I both said, that's not exactly a boast-worthy increase.

Ain't spin grand.
 

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TD said:
Ain't spin grand.
The entire World runs on that imaginary "spin". Where would we be without the media? People would base all judgements on fact rather than what PR departments can come up with. :rolleyes:
 

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TD said:


I'm thinking that they are including EVERYTHING. Even Z3 2.5s.

You are absolutely correct.

The accountant in me wouldn't let this go by without a little analysis.

Here's how the US Bimmer Numbers break down for the first 4 months of '02, including Mini sales in case any other inquiring minds want to know:

3er - 37,665
5er - 14,800
7er - 6,679
X5 - 14,082
Z3 - 2,598
Z8 - 216
Mini - 2,346

Total - 78,386

Now I can sleep peacefully tonight!
 
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IndyMike said:


You are absolutely correct.

The accountant in me wouldn't let this go by without a little analysis.

Here's how the US Bimmer Numbers break down for the first 4 months of '02, including Mini sales in case any other inquiring minds want to know:

3er - 37,665
5er - 14,800
7er - 6,679
X5 - 14,082
Z3 - 2,598
Z8 - 216
Mini - 2,346

Total - 78,386

Now I can sleep peacefully tonight!
And we all know how EVERYONE views the Mini as a luxury car.

Whatever.

And people think I'm being negative when I am skeptical of their PR press releases on 7-series sales.
 

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TD said:


And we all know how EVERYONE views the Mini as a luxury car.

Whatever.

And people think I'm being negative when I am skeptical of their PR press releases on 7-series sales.
Well, if we're going to discount Mini's we should also discount SUVs from the line up...SUVs aren't cars, they're worthless road hogs for people with small units or no units at all.

Take away RX300 and RX450 sales, X5 sales, and ML sales from Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes and I'd like to see the real figures.
 
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