Ahead of its official financial results for 2011, BMW has announced that the automaker sold 1.67 million cars last year, including a record 285,000 Minis and 3,668 Rolls Royces. It also says that sales in January and February 2012 were the ‘best in BMW’s history’.
Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW’s board member for development, told Autocar that the company saw growth in the US and the ‘BRICT’ countries [Brazil, Russia, India, China and Turkey], but that sales in southern European countries such as Spain had collapsed.
Dr Draeger also said that he eventually saw annual sales of around 600,000 for the upcoming new front-wheel drive family of BMWs and Minis. ‘Once you sell between 600,000 and one million vehicles annually, based on the same architecture, then you have the best economies of scale. Once you break through the million barrier, the cost savings are not significant.’
Today’s related 1-series and 3-series families - which sell around 600,000 units combined - is an example of BMW’s strategy, he added.
The new front-drive architecture will cover vehicles sized between around 12.5-14.5 feet in length, though Draeger said he ‘couldn’t imagine’ a future Mini model that was much bigger than today’s Countryman. The first front-drive BMW is likely to be a 4m-long competitor for the Audi A1.
BMW’s Oxford plant is currently undergoing significant expansion in preparation for the new platform and the launch of the Mk3 BMW Mini early next year. ––Paul DucheneBack to News