BMW Australia CEO Marc Werner says he’s pleased with his company’s market position in the Australian prestige market, despite coming between German rivals Mercedes-Benz and a re-emerging Audi.
BMW sales rose by 12 percent in 2016, totalling 28,028 compared to 41,226 Mercedes (up 13.3 percent including commercial vehicles) and 24,258 Audis.
Speaking at a BMW media event outside Melbourne last week, Werner said he didn’t make a habit of comparing numbers with the other two German marques, instead preferring to focus on “consistent and sustainable growth”.
“We are not in the volume game,” he explained.
“I do not comment about my dear friends from Stuttgart and Ingolstadt. They can do whatever they want to do, but at the end of the day we’re BMW and we have to do what we believe is right for the market and what is right for our customers.”
Werner said BMW would continue to provide a diverse range of vehicles for the Australian market including all-new models such as the X2 crossover and X7 large SUV and a mysterious new “niche” model due in 2019.
He said this year alone will see the introduction of the all-new BMW 5 Series sedan followed by the Touring estate later in the year and the M5 in 2018. Other notable 2017 arrivals include the 740e iPerformance hybrid, its polar opposite V12-powered M760Li xDrive, the limited edition M140i Performance Edition and the BMW 4-Series update.
“At the end of the day it’s really a question of what we have in our product line-up and we have a very good set-up with our bookend strategy.”
The bookend strategy is the entire range with the i Series electric and hybrid models at one end and the high-performance M cars at the other.
While the i Series cars, such as the 2014 Wheels Car of the Year i3, are still a work in progress here, the M brand performed well in showrooms, with the introduction of the BMW M2 leading to a three-fold increase in sales from 500 in 2014 to 1500 last year.
“(The M2 was) exactly the kind of car we needed in order to grow the M models but surprisingly at the same time the M3 and the M4 vehicles grew as well substantially. There was not necessarily any cannibalization or substitution as you would have expected.”
“Going forward we can’t wait to launch the all-new M5 which will be the next derivative of the all-new 5 Series and there’s certainly more to come but we can’t talk about them today.”
The success of the M2 has meant delays in orders being filled and Werner says BMW Australia is trying to get its hand on as many as Munich can churn out to meet demand.
“I can tell you every single (M2) that we get our hands on we’ll sell. That’s a discussion that we’re having in an ongoing basis, not only on a monthly basis but almost on a daily basis with our production partners in Munich.
“We need to get more M2s.”