This official BMW Group release details not only MINI’s worldwide sales for March for also the BMW Group as a whole: In March the BMW Group’s sales performance was again impacted by the global economic and financial crisis. In the month under review the BMW Group delivered 126,375 (prev.yr.: 152,586 / -17.2%) vehicles worldwide. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing: “The 17.2% decrease in March was smaller than in previous months. We have seen some encouraging signs in key markets like the United States and Germany. However, it is still too early to talk about a global turnaround.”

The BMW brand sold 104,417 vehicles in March, and was thus 17.0% below the level of 125,745 vehicles sold in the same month last year. MINI sales were also 18.5% lower at 21,888 units (prev.yr.: 26,841). The Rolls-Royce brand sold 70 cars over the past month (prev.yr.: 85 / -17.6%).

In the first quarter, global sales of the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands decreased by 21.2% to 277,264 (prev.yr.: 351,787) vehicles. Deliveries of the BMW brand were down 20.5% at 233,498 (prev.yr.: 293,550) vehicles. MINI sales were 24.9% lower at 43,592 units (prev.yr.: 58,054). Over the first three months of the year Rolls-Royce Motor Cars handed over 174 automobiles to customers (prev.yr.: 183 / -4.9%).

In the BMW Group’s largest retail market, the United States, BMW and MINI sales declined 24.2% and 15.9% respectively in March, and thus performed considerably better than the overall market, which shrank by around 37%. With 17,520 (prev.yr.: 23,115) sales in March and 42,731 (prev.yr.: 58,365) sales for the year to the end of March, BMW for the first time moved ahead of its competitors to take the top position in the premium segment. The fifth generation of the BMW 7 Series has now been available in the U.S. since March. It will continue to boost sales throughout the rest of the year in what has traditionally been this series’ most important market.

The BMW Group’s sales have performed better in Germany than in other high-volume markets. 55,836 vehicles were delivered to customers (prev.yr.: 64,283 / -13.1%) in the first quarter. March’s 1.1% decrease painted a more positive picture. MINI in particular managed to make strong sales gains of 26.2% in Germany in the month under review – partly thanks to the new MINI Convertible which rejoined the model range as its third version in March. Orders for the new open-topped MINI version are exceeding expectations. Attractive new entry-level engine options for the MINI One with 55 kW/75HP (128g CO2/km) and the Clubman One with 75 kW/95HP (130g CO2/km) have also boosted sales. The BMW brand made gains in Germany in March with both its largest and smallest series. The BMW 1 Series increased sales by 8.7% to 7,029 (prev.yr.: 6,467) vehicles, while deliveries of the new BMW 7 Series climbed 109.2% to reach 617 (prev.yr.: 295) vehicles in the month under review. Ian Robertson: “Our model-wide fuel savings program Efficient Dynamics is a definite success story and continues to convince more and more customers – whether it be in a BMW 1 Series or in a 7 Series.”

The BMW Group remained on its growth path in China, India and Brazil in the first quarter. In China the company delivered 13.8% more vehicles (16,580 / prev.yr.: 14,574) in the first three months of the year. India made gains of 15.1% to reach a total of 992 deliveries (prev.yr.: 862); in Brazil the number of vehicles delivered to customers in the first quarter rose 12.7% to 717 units (prev.yr.: 636). Among the so-called BRIC countries only Russia experienced a slight decline in sales volume of -0.6% from January to March. The BMW Group delivered a total of 4,184 automobiles in Russia in the period under review (prev.yr: 4,211).