China Hearts BMW: 4th Largest Market

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Forget the rice paddies and straw hats. Think Autobahn, and a testosterone-driven car on your tail, with his (it’s always a he) brights on. China is Bimmer country. The robust sales of BMW in China over the first nine months of the year made the Middle Kingdom the fourth-largest market for the Bavarian maker, Bloomberg reports.

China has overtaken Italy as BMW’s No. 4 market after Germany, the U.S. and the UK. BMW sales in China rose 32 percent to 62,394 in the January-September period.

China even leads the world as the top market for the BMW X6 SUVs, with 4,457 sold in the first nine months.

BMW Brilliance, a joint venture in China between BMW and Brilliance China Auto, makes BMW 3-series and 5-series models. The BMW 1-series may also become “Made in China” by next year. The joint venture is busy expanding its production capacity. They want to be ready to produce 110,000 units by late 2010, up from the current 30,000 units.

BMW is the second-bestselling German luxury car brand in China. In September, Audi sold more than 15,000, up 37 percent. BMW and Mini cars in China totaled 8,131 units, up 35.4 percent. Mercedes-Benz sold about 7,000 cars in China last month, up 59 percent.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Wsn Wsn on Oct 23, 2009
    # Flashpoint : October 23rd, 2009 at 8:30 am I’d rather have a C class in China than a 3 series. I wanna let everyone know that although we are all equal, I am more equal than they are. --- An S550 will make you the most equal.
  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Oct 23, 2009

    AlexD: Retail you're looking at about $55k-$70k for a locally-made 3-series, $90k for an imported 3-series like a 335i, and about $162k for an imported M3. PeteMoran: You can buy anything in China if you have enough pink bills.

  • AlexD AlexD on Oct 23, 2009

    Wow, quite a hefty cost - particularly on the locally produced models. There must be quite the margin on those units. Quite the opposite of what I expected, but then again I should be thinking more along the lines of what things cost in Hong Kong.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Oct 25, 2009

    I’d rather have a C class in China than a 3 series. I wanna let everyone know that although we are all equal, I am more equal than they are. Regardless of which one is the equal and which the more equal, they are both at the Bottom. Above them is the E and the 5, and above these two are the S class and the Magnificent 7. And one step above is the BMW 7-series platform- based "cheapo" Rolls Royce Ghost, the most powerful Rolls Ever.