By on July 27, 2015

bmw usa sales chart

In June 2015, BMW USA finally began providing a breakdown in their monthly sales report for the 3-Series and 4-Series. We’re grateful.

You’ll recall that in prior generations, the 4-Series was the 3-Series. The 3-Series was the 3-Series, too, but the 4-Series cars were versions of the 3-Series with two doors.

The story is still the same, except now you can get a version of the 4-Series with four doors and a hatch. You can get a 3-Series with four doors and a hatch, too, except it’s ugly. The 4-Series with four doors and a hatch is a decent looker.

They call it the Gran Coupe — coupe meaning a two-door car with a fixed roof. True, the 4-Series Gran Coupe has four doors, but the 4-Series nomenclature indicates the presence of two doors. So they run with it, just like they do with the 6-Series Gran Coupe in the interest of consistency, which is a four-door car with a trunk, not a hatch, to make sure consistency doesn’t run rampant.

2012 BMW 3-Series sedan

Forgive the digression. BMW’s naming scheme creates a need for background. Regardless, June presented BMW with 6,891 sales of the 3-Series (sedan, Gran Turismo, and wagon) and nearly that many copies of the 4-Series (coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe). 4-Series sales jumped 69 percent to 6,625 units, just 266 sales shy of the 3-Series, sales of which slid 10 percent.

40 percent of BMW brand volume in the United States is generated by these two model lines. Throughout the first half of 2015, their sales figures weren’t nearly so similar, as the above chart attests. But the U.S. market isn’t the only one where the figures for the 4-Series are beginning to approach those of the 3-Series. In Canada, after outselling the 4-Series by 75 percent through the first five months of 2015, the 3-Series was only 36-percent more popular in June, a gap of only 224 sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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20 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: BMW 4-Series Is Selling Almost As Often As The 3-Series...”

  • avatar

    Huh. So I guess there is a method to the madness. I still think all that choice confuses most BMW buyers.

    • 0 avatar

      Should be easy for americans, considering US manufacturers had model lines throughout the 60s that were similarly diverse: 4 door sedan, 2 door sedan, 2 door hardtop coupe, 4 door hardtop coupe, station wagon, convertible…

    • 0 avatar

      There’s no confusion since the numbers are meaningless these days. “Sign here, pay $450 a month for your status symbol.”

  • avatar

    “… coupe meaning a two-door car with a fixed roof.”

    Get ready for comments from the Euro car fans for that line.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s really not a coupe. 2 door sedans have been around for ages, there are many examples of model lines featuring both 2 door sedans and coupes. Coupe implies a lower, more elegant roofline and less focus on interior space.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t disagree with you, but in North America at least, formal roof two door cars began receiving the “coupe” designation in the 1970s (even though they would have been called “2-door sedans” in decades prior). The term “2-door sedan” was pretty much gone by the late 1970s and “4-door coupe” as an official term was just about unheard of until the CLA.

        Is my Charger a sedan because that is what Dodge calls it or is a coupe because it has a sloping roofline?

        • 0 avatar

          So my first car was a coupe after all? I knew it!

        • 0 avatar

          4-door hardtop coupe

          Rover P5 Coupe

          I’m not saying they were everywhere, but they were also not uncommon.

          • 0 avatar


            GM called that model the “sports sedan”. Going back to the 1940s, I can not find any time that the Big 3 officially used “4-door coupe” to describe a vehicle. However in my link you can see “2-door sedan” being used and there are many examples from 1975-2004 of ANY 2-door car being called coupe.

            The Rover is an example but how many were sold in North America? Plus, it went out of production in 1973.

            For North Americans that are under 55 and aren’t automotive historians, not classifying “coupe” and “sedan” by the number of doors is a new thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Its really simple guys (and gals). Coupe stems from the French verb “Couper”, which means “to cut” or “to do without”. There’s nothing to do with door count here. The first modern four-door-coupe was the Mercedes CLS in 2004 or 2005, I dont remember off the top of my head, and it “cut” the frames off of its doors and “did without” the formal roofline of the Eclass it was based upon.

  • avatar

    I give up on the nomenclature. Which one is the one with four doors and a sloped back with a hatch, that looks like it took a kick up the backside?

    I hate it.

    • 0 avatar

      Lol! I was forced to give up on the name schematic a long time ago, I can’t be bothered to remember such nonsense. Give the damn cars some Germanic names!

      The die-hard BMW guys, that I came up racing with, are essentially ALL enthusiasts of a different make. Sad.

  • avatar

    You said it. The 4-series GC pretty much makes the 3-series sedan redundant. The 4 gran coupe’s hatch is functional and not ugly. There’s no reason to buy a 3 sedan. uPorsche and Honda need to get on board with bmw’s use of the configuration.

    • 0 avatar

      The 3 series sedan is cheaper. You are paying several extra grand for the looks.

      • 0 avatar

        At least the 4 series Gran Coupe gains you an awesome, useful hatch (like the A7). This unfortunately doesn’t apply to the 6 series Gran Coupe, which really is several (more than the 3 to 4 jump) thousand just for looks.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe one of the two has a longer wheelbase and larger back seat. If that is the 4 GC, that would be a differentiator.

    • 0 avatar

      The 3 Series GT is on the longer platform, the gran coupe shares a platform with the two-door.

      I had an F30 328d prior to our acquisition of the gran coupe, and I have to say that the hands free closing and opening of the lift gate/cargo capacity and flexibility more than compensates the slightly reduced head room for rear passengers (which is still more than capable of accommodating tall passengers).

    • 0 avatar

      Actually there is a reason to buy a 3 series sedan…It can be had with a manual transmission….The gran coupe cannot.

  • avatar

    Does BMW sell the 4-series in China, where the number 4 is associated with death?

  • avatar

    They need to start badging these cars after their lease payments – the $199-Series, the $299-Series, the $749-Series, etc.

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