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BMW on track for sales record

Three kick: BMW Australia is gaining ground with the recently launched new generation of its top-selling 3 Series range.

New 3 Series and 1 Series propelling BMW Australia towards 18,000 sales

10 Jul 2012

BMW Australia expects to finally crack 18,000 sales this year after five years stalled in the 17,000 range, as the new 3 Series range catapults the Bavarian brand towards a sales record in this country.

Until the GFC struck in 2007, BMW sales had consistently grown by about 1000 units a year to eventually overtake German luxury rival Mercedes-Benz in passenger car and SUV sales.

BMW lost that crown to Mercedes last year, but BMW Australia marketing manager Tom Noble told GoAuto the company was set to turn the tables with a sales record this year.

He said the record pace already evident in BMW’s 2012 sales – up 4.6 per cent in the first half – would continue as the company filled orders for the new 3 Series sedan range launched in February and boosted by the recent launch of new entry-level petrol (320i at $57,600) and diesel (318d at $56,400) models.

Although reluctant to predict a year-end total, Mr Noble said he was confident of setting a record and beating Mercedes-Benz comfortably in passenger car sales.

“I think it will probably be the biggest year we’ve ever had,” he said.

 center imageLeft: BMW Australia marketing manager Tom Noble.

“A lot depends on what happens to the market in the second half of the year. It’s tough for retailers, not just car retailers. I guess you would say we are cautiously optimistic.

“We’re lucky that we’ve got a very young product range at the moment – we’ve got a new 3 Series, we’ve got a 1 Series that was launched last year, we’ve got an X1 that’s still young in the market and we’ve got X5 that just keeps going from strength to strength,” said Mr Noble.

“We’re in a really good spot coming into the second half of the year with a bit of momentum with the 3 Series.

“It beat C-Class last month and we’ve taking a ton of orders, and those orders are starting to be delivered now because of the timing with production, so we should be pretty strong in the second half.”

Mr Noble said he expected the 320i and 318d to add significant volume because they were “conquest cars”, coming in at price points designed to bring non-premium buyers into the premium end of the market.

“We were running the last 3 Series with some entry-level petrol engines that we would call ‘rest of the world engines’, and they weren’t at the same level as the rest of the stuff that we sell in Europe because the sulphur level of the petrol down here is so high that it was probably two generations old.

“Now we’ve got the modern up-to-date petrol engines and we’re seeing a swing back towards petrol away from diesel, at least in the entry-level sedan area, not in SUV – SUV is still cranking away at 70 to 80 per cent diesel – so we’re looking to see 320i and 318d really taking off in the second half of the year.”

This week, BMW is launching the 6 Series Gran Coupe in Australia and, while it represents only small volumes for the company, it will be promoted strongly as a ‘halo car’ for the brand.

“Gran Coupe is a really good example of the design direction the brand is going – it’s one of the prettiest cars we’ve made in a long, long time,” said Mr Noble.

“It’s a great-looking car and a great brand halo for us, so we’ll probably spend more on marketing it than the volume would suggest we would simply because it does a really good job for us from a brand point of view and we haven’t played in that space for a while.”

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