BMW gears up to overtake Mercedes-Benz

The carmaker sold 11,567 vehicles in 2019, while Mercedes-Benz delivered 10,020 cars

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

BMW, the German auto brand, is tipped to take out its luxury-car rival Mercedes-Benz in contesting for the top premium car brand sold in Malaysia.

BMW Malaysia Sdn Bhd announced that the company sold 11,567 vehicles in 2019 consisting of 9,300 units of BMW cars, 1,142 units of MINI and 1,125 units of BMW Motorrad despite a tough year witnessed in the auto industry.

Its contender, the world’s best-selling luxury car brand Mercedes delivered 10,020 cars last year, capturing a 1.8% market share in the local automotive market.

While Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd led the pack in the premium car segment, the volume difference between these two carmakers in the luxury niche segment shrank from 1,071 units in 2018 to 720 last year.

Both high-end manufacturers registered a decline in sales volume on the back of tepid vehicle sales growth last year, but Mercedes took a harder hit as its sales tumbled from 13,079 units sold in 2018 to 10,020 vehicles in 2019, down 23.4% year-on-year.

BMW Malaysia delivered 11,567 combined units of BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad brands for 2019, a drop of 19.3% or 2,771 units from 14,338 units delivered in 2018. But in terms of brand specific, the carmaker shifted a total of 9,300 BMW vehicles last year which positioned BMW in the second place in the luxury car segment behind Mercedes.

The X family or the SUV models by BMW have accounted for over 42% of the total BMW deliveries.

BMW AG introduced 32 new model variants across the BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad segments in Malaysia last year, four of which were electrified BMW and MINI vehicles.

A total of 3,148 electrified BMW and MINI vehicles were delivered in 2019, comprising more than 900 units of BMW X5 xDrive40e, 300 units of BMW 740Le xDrive, 600 units of BMW 530e, 1,000 units of BMW 330e and 70 units of MINI plug-in hybrid.

“Against the backdrop of a challenging year for the automotive sector, we are proud to have achieved such success within the electrified segment in Malaysia and across the globe, which reaffirms our optimism for the year ahead.”

The group also reiterated its commitment to expand the infrastructure for electromobility in the country.

“We are committed to continue leading the charge for electromobility in Malaysia, especially in light of the upcoming National Automotive Policy (NAP) announcement, which will see electrified vehicles play a prominent role in propelling our automotive sector to greater heights,” BMW Malaysia MD Harald Hoelzl said during a briefing in Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday.

BMW introduced 18 new BMW i charging facilities across Malaysia last year, bringing the total to over 30 in three years.

This year, Hoelzl said the company will focus on sporting excellence, brand individuality, innovations and clean technology to push the brand further as the local automotive industry steps into a new game plan under the upcoming NAP.

He said the company is set to electrify 2020 under three focus pillars namely “The Story of T hrilling Sportiness”, “The Story of Independent Style” and “The Story of Visionary Mobility”.

The long-awaited NAP 2020 is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad next month, a new strategic framework that provides the evolution of technologies, next-generation vehicles and mobility-as-a-service and few others in line with global trends.