BMW aims for 25% sales increase in the U.S.
BMW aims to boost the brand's annual U.S. vehicle sales by 25 percent.
"In the mid-term, we expect U.S. sales of 300,000 units for the BMW brand," the carmaker's U.S. boss, Ludwig Willisch, told Automotive News Europe.
Willisch declined to give a specific year when BMW wants to reach its goal, but believes the target is attainable because of a refreshed model portfolio that will feature the new-generation 3-series sedan starting in early 2012 and might include the X1 small crossover.
According to company sources, the 300,000 goal should be reached in 2013/2014.
BMW head of global sales and marketing Ian Robertson also is bullish about the automaker's future in the world's second-largest market.
"We want to be the No. 1 premium brand in the U.S. – this year and in the future," Robertson told Automotive News Europe in a separate interview. "Year to date, we are ahead of Mercedes [in the Unites States]. And we intend to defend that position."
Through November, BMW's U.S. vehicle sales were up 12 percent to 221,073 units while Mercedes's volume rose 12 percent to 219,491. According to Willisch, BMW's aim is to sell 240,000 units in the United States this year, up from 220,113 in 2010.
BMW and Mercedes are vying to pass Lexus, which has been the annual U.S. luxury sales leader for the past 11 years. Lexus had U.S. sales of 201,769 units in the first 11 months of the year.
BMW's will rely heavily on its U.S. plant to help it continue its U.S. growth. "We project to produce more than 270,000 vehicles there in 2011," Robertson said. Last year's output was 159,284 units.
Robertson also hopes for a tailwind in the U.S. market because of the race for the White House. "Next year is an election year in the U.S., this is why I expect support for the automotive sector. The market will continue to move up a little bit," Robertson said.
Willisch, a German national who succeeded Jim O'Donnell on Oct. 1, expects Mini's U.S. sales to grow to 55,000 units this year, up from 45,655 last year, but he declined to give a mid-term outlook for the brand. He said Mini has 110 U.S. sales outlets and plans to add 10 more in both 2012 and 201
The U.S. is the biggest market for combined sales of the BMW and Mini brands – with 246,600 units sold through October 2011 compared with 244,400 in Germany and 181,200 in China.