BMW Beats Mercedes Again in Premium Segment
German automaker BMW has beaten its rival Mercedes-Benz for the second year. The group, including the MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, sold 2.1 million BMW cars last year. That was again slightly more than the car brand Mercedes managed to sell last year.
The BMW brand thus remains number one in the global premium segment. Previously, Stuttgart-based arch-rival Mercedes-Benz was almost always number one in the luxury segment. Although the sales of both brands grew in the last months of 2022, they could not compensate for the lost sales in the year’s first half. In the first months of 2022, production decreased due to shortages of parts and the war in Ukraine.
More recently, the automotive sector has also faced rising energy costs, higher financing costs and increased competition. For example, the shares of the American carmaker Tesla fell sharply last year due to concerns about demand in China, the largest car market in the world. The Chinese automakers BYD, Xpeng and Nio are increasingly competing in that market.
Both BMW and Mercedes saw sales fall in China as customers stayed away from the showrooms due to the strict corona measures in the country. Mercedes already cut the price of its electric sedan EQS last year to reposition itself in a competitive market. Tesla also recently announced that it would lower its prices in China. Despite the headwind, BMW and Mercedes doubled sales of fully electric cars last year.
The British luxury brand Bentley, owned by Volkswagen, announced that it had delivered more than 15,000 cars for the first time last year, 4 percent more than in 2021. There was strong growth in Europe, Asia (excluding China), and Oceania. The Bentayga SUV sold the best. More and more hybrids of that model and the Flying Spur are also being sold.