Manufacturing News

BMW Group posts 1st monthly volume decline in China in a decade

BMW Group's sales in China dipped 4.2 percent year on year in May to 37,457 vehicles -- the German automaker's first monthly downturn in a decade.

Last month, BMW brand's volume in China fell 5.5 percent to 34,870 vehicles while Mini's sales rose 18 percent to 2,587, according to the automaker.

The last time that BMW sales in China failed to exceed the previous year's monthly total was in January 2005.

A company spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe that BMW expected a slowdown in May, which had two fewer sales days than in the year-earlier period.

The German automaker also enjoyed strong demand in May 2014, and thus anticipated a "normalization" of sales last month.

BMW's downturn added evidence that China's auto market may be heading into a period of stagnation. But not all luxury brands are performing poorly.

Last month, Mercedes-Benz sales in China rose nearly 20 percent year on year to 27,562 vehicles, as demand remained strong for the company's full-size sedans. Audi AG, China's leading luxury brand, reported a sales decline of 1.6 percent in May to 47,410 vehicles.

BMW is under pressure in China from a cooling economy, a government move to rein in luxury car prices, a trial program allowing unauthorized dealers to sell imported cars and tensions with Chinese dealership groups.

Despite those challenges, BMW Group deliveries in the world's biggest car market rose 3 percent in the first five months to 190,427 vehicles.

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