GERMANY: Plant refurbishment blamed for BMW January sales shortfall
BMW Group's January sales, were down 7.1% to 74,300 units, from 79,960 in 2002. The company said refurbishment and modernisation of the Munich plant required a break in production from Christmas 2003 to the end of January 2004 which led to a loss of some 3 series models in particular.
Without providing data, BMW said it expects to exceed 2003's sales figures again in the next few months and expects sales records for all brands this year.
BMW brand customer deliveries in January were down 8.9% to 59,080. However, the new 5 series sedan line increased volume (including old shape Toring wagons) 40.1% to 15,230.
New X3 SUV and 6 series coupes were launched in left hand drive European markets from 10 January - 2,060 X3s and 610 6s were delivered during the month.
The slightly redesigned, US-built, X5 increased sales 0.5% to 6,840 and 2,030 Z4s were also delivered in January though no year-ago comparison figure was given for the roadster.
Sales of the 3 series declined almost 29% to 29,140, due to the Munich factory work, while deliveries of the much-criticised 7-series, rumoured to be getting a facelift soon, also fell 29% to 3,100.
Almost three years after launch Mini sales continue to increase, albeit fractionally year on year in January (0.4%) as 15,170 left dealerships worldwide.
The brand will get a boost from the launch of the long-awaited convertible this summer.
Rolls-Royce delivered 50 cars in January and reconfirmed its target of 1,000 Phantoms for 2004.
"The market landscape for the motorcycle segment remains difficult," BMW said announcing January sales of 3,110 units, "still 22.8% below last year's level".
For the year, the company is again expecting sales above 2003's record levels, driven by new products.