Growing EV sales confirm BMW’s lead among German premium three

For the second consecutive year, the BMW Group has beaten Mercedes-Benz in total sales for 2022. The number three, Audi, follows at arm’s length. Also noticeable: all three have sold consistently more electric and electrified cars than in 2021.

With 2,4 million vehicles sold by the BMW Group (BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce) and 2,1 million for the BMW brand alone, BMW precedes Mercedes-Benz (2,05 million cars sold) by a small margin. It’s the second year that the guys from Munich beat those from Stuttgart regarding sales, although in both cases, they sold less than the year before. The revenues, on the contrary, rose because both managed to sell more expensive cars with a larger amount of optional features.

The number three, VW-daughter Audi, didn’t fulfill its (revised) forecast of 1,65 million cars in 2022; it halted at 1,61 million (-4% compared to 2021). According to the people in Ingolstadt, significant challenges in the supply chain and the afterpains of the pandemic hampered sales.

Is China to worry about?

The three premium brands saw their sales results in China worsen. A heightened competition (with Tesla, but also Chinese automakers like BYD, Xpeng, Nio, etc., and redundant lockdowns all over the country resulted in lower sales for all. It encouraged Tesla and Mercedes, for example, to lower their prices (the latter only for the EQS).

Where Audi sales in Europe still grew slightly (+1,2%), the sales in China caused the regress: more than minus 8%. The Chinese market is the most important for the three brands, so they don’t want prominent negative figures. The growing competition and a market that seems to be slowing down (independent of Covid-19 occurrences) are concerns for ‘the big three’ in the premium market.

Electrification is booming

If something is saving these brands from a more significant reduction in sales, it’s the success of electrified cars. In 2022, the BMW Group sold 215 755 fully electric vehicles from the BMW and Mini brands, more than twice as many as in 2021 (+ 107,7%). The Group was also able to hand over the 500 000th fully electric vehicles to customers by the end of 2022.

The BMW brand sold 372 956 electrified vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) last year, 35,6% more than in 2021. However, if you subtract the battery-electric cars, you are left with 200 955 plug-in hybrids from the BMW brand. In the BMW Group, pure electric cars accounted for a share of around 9%. For 2023, the Group aims for a 15% share of all-electric vehicles in total sales.

Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars delivered 117 800 battery-electric cars in 2022. Thanks to a solid final quarter, the Stuttgart-based company could more than double (+124%) its electric car deliveries compared to the previous year.

Where electrified vehicles are concerned, Mercedes could deliver 319 200 of them worldwide in 2022. For Mercedes, this represents a 19% increase and 15% of total sales in 2022.

Audi delivered 118 196 electric cars in 2022, an almost 50% increase compared to 2021. “The focus on electric mobility is the right way to go,” they say in Ingolstadt.


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