BMW remains No. 1 premium brand, EV sales up 92%

It seems like BMW isn’t able to put a foot wrong, despite churning out a slew of controversial designs and ever more complicated iDrive systems. Munich ended the year at the top of the premium car sales pile for the third time running, delivering a record 2,253,835 vehicles in 2023.

As Automotive News Europe reports, this figure represents a 7.3% increase over 2022, enabling BMW to once again trump arch rival Mercedes-Benz. In particular, the brand’s electric vehicles continue to see strong year-on-year growth, with sales skyrocketing by 92% to 330,956 units.

The company says it expects demand for EVs to continue rising and plans to sell half a million fully electric vehicles this year. In all, the BMW Group sold 2,555,341 cars last year (up 6.5%), including those from its MINI and Rolls-Royce subsidiaries.

BMW remains No. 1 premium brand globally, beating Mercedes, Audi, Tesla – EV sales up 92% to 331k units

Meanwhile, Mercedes reported virtually flat sales of 2,043,800 units, due to a shortage of components for its 48-volt mild hybrid systems, other supplier bottlenecks and the changeover to the new W214 E-Class. Sales of its EVs failed to match the heights of BMW’s despite rising 73% to 222,600, but those of high-end Maybach, G-Class and AMG models were strong enough to offset the challenges.

Overall group sales, which include vans (up eight per cent to a record 447,800 vehicles) and smart vehicles (the older fortwo and forfour, not the Geely-developed #1 and #3), rose 1.5% to 2,491,600 units.

Taking up the final podium spot is Audi, which sold 1,895,240 vehicles – 17% more than in 2022 – thanks to easing supply shortages. This includes just over 178,000 EVs that found homes, representing a 51% jump. Ingolstadt’s positive year helped it hold off a serious challenge from the world’s preeminent maker of EVs.

That company is, of course, Tesla, which saw a staggering 38% increase in sales to 1,808,581 units – 96% of which came from the cheaper Model 3 and Model Y. A distant Lexus rounded off the top five; its sales of 824,258 units (up 32%) as of November were enough to see off Volvo’s 708,116 units (up 15%).

Of course, BMW has been doing well in Malaysia as well – the company was the top-selling premium brand for four years on the trot with 11,699 units sold in 2023. These include over 3,600 EVs, including 1,100 units of the ever-popular iX.

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