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A poor performance in the passenger car segment has negative outcomes for the BMW brand as a whole

2017 BMW ALPINA B7 xDrive

A decline in passenger car sales is having a largely negative impact on the BMW brand

Through the first quarter of 2017, BMW was able to stay the course in terms of U.S. sales, with figures remaining relatively stagnant when compared to 2016. However, after the first fiscal quarter of 2017 ended, BMW’s fortunes took a turn for the worse, and those fortunes appear to only be growing worse by the month.

Indeed, BMW sales experienced an 11% decrease for the month of May.


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Last month, BMW sold 25,818 vehicles in all. When compared to the 29,017 vehicles sold in May of 2016, this accounts for the large 11% sales decrease for the German automaker.

BMW’s lineup of passenger cars were affected the most by underperforming sales. Compared to May of 2016, BMW passenger car sales were down by 17.3%.

BMW’s fleet of light trucks fared marginally better, with a sales increase of 3.6% last month. However, this wasn’t enough to counteract BMW’s massive sales losses in the passenger car segment.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an American-manufactured BMW is performing well in America

America’s recent shift toward domestically-produced vehicles is symbolized in the sales performance of the BMW X3. The SUV, which is assembled in South Carolina, had the most impressive sales growth of any model in the BMW lineup, with an overall 21.7% increase in May.

An exception to BMW’s underperformance in the passenger car realm is the BMW 5 Series. The new 5 Series sedan experienced a sales increase of 12.7% in May, with a total of 3,677 units sold.

MINI sales improved last month compared to the rest of 2017. However, that doesn’t mean that they are good news for the brand.

While MINI sales did better in May than in past months, they were by no means healthy. 4,060 MINI vehicles were sold in the U.S. last month. Compared to the 4,595 units sold in May 2016, that is an 11.6% decrease.

Still, that is a much better performance for MINI than in April, when the brand experienced a 27.4% sales decrease. Year-to-date, 17,792 MINI vehicle have been sold in the U.S., for a total sales loss of 12.1%

Meanwhile, year-to-date sales of BMW vehicles total 120,124 models. The brand, which was experiencing slight sales growth during the first portion of 2017, is now on a 3.6% sales decline year-to-date.


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A slight silver lining did manage to emerge for the German luxury brand during May. Sales of BMW Certified Pre-Owned models set a May record of 12,698 vehicles, an overall 18.9% sales increase.

For a more thorough look at BMW’s May sales performance, you can examine the chart below.

BMW May 2017 Sales