MUNICH -- BMW was the hardest hit in May among Germany’s slumping premium brands. The Munich-based automaker’s sales fell 15.3 percent to 53,354 units last month, according to statistics from the European car manufacturers association, ACEA.
BMW has reported nine consecutive month-on-month sale declines.
The good news is that BMW’s May decline was its lowest in 2009 and much better than its 33.0 percent drop in April. Through five months, BMW is down 24.8 percent to 229,383. Those numbers leave it in third place behind Europe’s premium-sales leader Audi and No. 2 Mercedes-Benz. (Click on table, right)
The premium brands as a whole are struggling more than mass-market competitors such as Hyundai, Fiat and Dacia, which are benefiting most from scrapping incentives.
The British government last week said that its recently launched scrapping scheme, which gives customers a 2,000 pound (about $3,300) bonus for trading an old car for a new one, resulted in 60,000 new orders from April 22 to June 7. Hyundai told Reuters that it had 8,246 new orders during the period. That put it tops on the list followed by Ford Motor Co. with 8,050.
David Arnold, an auto sales specialist at Credit Suisse, said that premium makers will start to see their sales recover by the end of 2009 and in the beginning of 2010. That is when many of the scrapping programs will end.