BEIJING, January 14 (TMTPOST)— For the first time in the past six years, BMW AG dethroned its arch-rival Mercedes-Benz as the king of luxury car by sales, driven by the highest ever annual sales in the key market China.
The BMW Group delivered 2.52 million vehicles in 2021, increasing 8.4% from the previous year, and the annual global delivery under the BMW brand set a record of 2.21 million cars, first taking the crown of luxury car from Mercedes-Benz since 2015. The same year saw the Daimler AG’s brand sold about 2.1 million vehicles with a 5% year-over-year (YoY) decline.
The results showed BMW brand was more resilient than rivals amid the prolonged global supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19 pandemic, especially chip shortage. Such resilience mainly resulted from the outstanding performance in China as more than 846,000 units were delivered in the market, breaking a new annual record with a 9% YoY growth. More importantly, BMW seized opportunities of the consumer demand recovery from the pandemic and the hot trend in auto industry as its sales of fully-electric vehicles, so called battery electric vehicles (BEV), more than doubled globally last year and the impressive result also achieved in China: sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) including BEVs hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and other non-fossil fuel-powered vehicles surged 70% to 48,000 units, much more robust than the brand’s overall annual sales increase of 9% in the market.
China’s industry body posted the same trend in auto industry. Sales of passenger cars in 2021 rose 4.4% YoY to 20.146 million cars, snapping a three-year decline, while sales of NEV had a 169.1% YoY increase the year, according to China Passenger Car Association (CPCA)’s data.
BMW’s another luxury brand Rolls-Royce also had an annual sales record last year with 49% YoY rise. The 117-year history brand sold 5,586 units to customers in over 50 countries and sales hit record high in most regions, including China and the United States, the CEO Müller-Ötvös said earlier this week.
BMW planned to introduce seven NEV models by the end of 2022, including battery powered iX and iX3. The head of sales Pieter Nota said the German carmaker wanted to “continue our profitable growth and we will systematically expand our range of fully electric vehicles” in the year.