2016 BMW sales numbers have been tallied for December and for all of 2016. It was a tough year for BMW in North America, and sales were down an overall 9.5 percent for the BMW brand. BMW was coming off a string of three record sales years in a row here. Globally, BMW reported that 2016 sales increased by 5.2 percent.
Throughout the second half of 2016 I added updates to my May article on BMW sales, so I won’t repeat all the points made in that piece. Mercedes-Benz had a flat year with sales slightly down at 0.8 percent. BMW’s archrival took back the luxury car crown in the U.S. by selling 340, 237 vehicles (excluding vans and Smart cars). Lexus was a close second at 331,228 vehicles sold and BMW was third. Audi was a distant fourth with 210,213 vehicles sold but was the only maker to see its sales increase in 2016, at 4 percent.
BMW had a fairly good December after November to November sales were down 18 percent. The December sales were supported by discounting, and if the Google search ad I received last week is any indication those discounts look to be continuing into January:
Truck sales represented 33 percent of overall 2016 BMW sales, up 2.7 percent for the year. Cars were down 14.5 percent, as BMW grappled with the overall move in the U.S. market towards SUVs and crossovers. The percentage would have been even more dramatic if BMW didn’t categorize its smallest SUV – the redesigned X1 – as a car.
X1 sales were up 92.9 percent in 2016, totaling 27,812 vehicles. If you backed that number out of total car sales, then cars would have been down an astounding 26 percent this year. The new G-30 5-Series will be out in early 2017, and that’s a vital and high volume model for BMW. Perhaps it can help slow down the transition from cars to trucks.
There’s no doubt that transition is hurting the car sales for all makers in North America. Debate will continue whether BMWs are still worth a premium in a luxury market that continues to become more and more competitive. Car and Driver again left the 3/4 Series off of its 10 Best list, though it did include the 240i and the M2. The 3-Series had an incredible run of 23 straight years on the 10 Best list snapped in 2015.
It’s clear that selling cars as opposed to crossovers/SUV is becoming more difficult for all car makers in the U.S. market. If you’re planning to buy this year, keep that in mind. With the exception of a few highly sought after models like the M2, BMW car buyers should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating – pun intended!
UPDATE 2/5 – BMW January 2017 sales were flat, .01 up. CPO sales were up 24.2 percent.
UPDATE 6/2 – BMW May sales were down 11 percent from last year. YTD BMW brand sales are down 3.6 percent in the U.S. market. CPO sales continue to be very strong, up 24.2 percent YTD.
UPDATE 9/14 – BMW August sales were down 7.7 percent from last year. Surprisingly, truck sales were down 30.2 percent, with cars up 6.2 percent. YTD 2017 BMW sales are down 5 percent.
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