By on December 13, 2014

Mercedes-Benz BMW USA sales chartPassenger car sales in the United States are up just 1% as the overall industry has grown more than 5% through the first eleven months of 2014. America’s two best-selling premium brands, however, are enjoying more encouraging passenger car numbers in 2014. Quickly decreasing fuel prices are not, as of yet, slowing car volume at BMW in the least.

BMW car sales are up 12% through the first eleven months of 2014 on the strength of the 3-Series and 4-Series, which account for more than six out of every ten BMW passenger car sales. As the chart’s red line shows, the percentage of BMW’s volume generated by cars was as low as 59% in March, as high as 77% in July and 76% in October, but slid back somewhat to 67% in November.

Mercedes-Benz car volume is up 4.4% this year, although the brand’s cars tumbled 18% in October and 7% in November. Again, as the chart shows in the green line, Mercedes-Benz’s SUVs and crossovers accounted for 36% of non-Sprinter Mercedes-Benz volume in March, a figure which rose as high as 38% in May and 39% in October but fell to 37% in November.

We were clear about the reasoning behind charts like this a week ago, so we won’t go into the justification for displaying figures like these again. Are fuel prices a factor in pushing luxury SUV/crossover sales upward? Perhaps, but the numbers for these two top-selling luxury brands manifest little change.

And there are other contributing factors. Mercedes-Benz now sells their most affordable crossover, the GLA, which didn’t go on sale until September, and the new C-Class is only just beginning to play a role. Meanwhile, X6 volume dried up in August, September, and October as BMW USA waited for the new model to arrive.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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21 Comments on “Lower Fuel Prices Not Slowing U.S. Car Sales At BMW...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Who cares?

    The Germans are still a weensy slice of the pie chart.

    Yay Pie!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Meanwhile, X6 volume dried up in August, September, and October as BMW USA waited for the new model to arrive.”

    What, did the volume go from like 10 units to 3? So, seven people are anxiously waiting for the new X6 or are they jumping ship (shark?) to grab the new MB GLE Coupe, a segment that MB so desperately wants a piece of?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      BMW reported 2951 X6 sales in the first seve months of this year, just 66 in the following three months. (421 in November.) It’s surprisingly not THAT unpopular. 37,520 since arriving in the U.S. in 2008, with its best year in 2012 when 6749 were sold.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        a few years ago I sold my BMW X5 and it was one of the best SUVs I ever owned. Sporty, comfortable, and it was super reliable. I like the X6, but don’t think I’d ever buy one. I do see quite a few where i live to include the X6M variant. I’ve even now seen a couple X4s in my area. It’s not a huge seller for BMW, but pretty come here.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Re: the headline

    Is there any reason to think that lower fuel prices should hurt BMW sales? Prius, Volt, Smart certainly but BMW?

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      I wondered that too but I concluded the implication is that high gas prices have kept thousands of Americans willing to settle for BMWs instead of the Palace Cab pickups and Escalades they really wanted.

      I think it will just take another 60 days to show up in the data.

      • 0 avatar

        Why would BMW sales figures lag behind luxury SUV sales figures?

        The Lincoln Navigator was up 88% in November.

        If I buy a Luxury SUV instead of a BMW wouldn’t the number of SUV’s go up by one and the number of BMW’s go down by one? The impact of my buying decision would apply to all potential cars the same month I made my purchase, no?

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          But does anyone crosshop a Navigator and a 3 series? At all? A Prius uses less fuel than a Peterbilt, but I can’t imagine the Toyota dealer being too concerned about the competition, even with lower oil prices….

          The plausible lift in resale, from lower gas prices, of that old Bush era Navigator, may just as likely enable yet another empty nester to trade the darned thing in for a car more suitable for a midlife crisis, like a BMW…..

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Pch101 is here now, read his stuff ↓
          I don’t gotta think no more.

          Bes1des, I was just funnin’. Nobody who wants a real vehicle like a BOFer would ever cons1der some slimy little German cockroach.

          (BTW… I’ll betcha the word “cons1der” has sunk more comments here than all others except maybe “s1de”). For the past 3 months.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Why would lower fuel prices slow sales of BMW cars? If anything, I would expect the opposite.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Higher oil prices correlate with gains for smaller crossovers and losses for large mainstream SUVs, (not-so-mini) minivans and large mainstream sedans. If you’re trying to find causation, then I would track those segments against each other.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    The new C Class seems great but the much higher prices will limit volume compared to BMW’s 3 series.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I’m not sure what the price of gas has to do with hurting BMW sales? Not really sure how 9 months of data with a corresponding decrease is gas of $0.62 over that period tells me enough to find any correlation or causality. Season changes, alone you could argue would be just as telling.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I also vote that lower gas prices will not affect sales of Bimmers…or at least not their 3 series. Maybe some of the bigger land-yacht sedans and SUVs, but not more so than other manufacturers.

    If anything, they should start selling more of those N20-powered cars. That four cylinder turbo produces amazing torque and horsepower for fairly low mileage.

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