Currently reading: BMW retains sales lead over Audi and Mercedes-Benz
Record worldwide sales of close to two million units in 2013 keep BMW well ahead of its premium-brand rivals

The BMW group has retained its title as the world’s leading premium car maker by selling a record 1,963,789 cars last year.

The figure represents a 6.4 per cent rise over the 1,845,186 units sold in 2012 and compares well with Audi’s 1.605m sales and Mercedes-Benz’s 1.461m. Meanwhile, profits were up by 4.5 per cent year on year to £4.46bn after tax.

Worldwide sales of all three of the company’s brands rose last year. BMW was up by a healthy 7.5 per cent, Mini by 1.2 per cent and Rolls-Royce by 1.5 per cent.

Mini fared reasonably well considering that the hatchback was in its run-out year, with sales of the three-door down by just 2.3 per cent. Sales of the Mini Countryman — which accounts for a third of Minis sold — fell fractionally, but a strong showing by the Paceman, which sold 15,000 units last year, ensured Mini’s positive growth.

BMW itself was in a stronger position. The 3-series family is still the company’s biggest seller, with sales up by 30 per cent. Strong demand for the saloon and Touring models was the main driving force, in addition to nearly 23,000 sales of the new Gran Turismo hatchback. Sales of the three-model 6-series range were also up significantly, although this was entirely due to the four-door Gran Coupé, whose sales of 15,913 units means it outsells the 6-series coupé and convertible combined.

A strong performance by the entry-level BMW X1 SUV saw year-on-year sales rise by over nine per cent. The BMW X3 was also up strongly, but sales of the controversial BMW X6 fell 16 per cent in its last year before being replaced, to just 36,688. The BMW Z4 roadster slipped nearly 16 per cent to just 12,866 units.

BMW is set to make further sales gains this year with the just-launched third-generation Mini three-door and impending five-door hatchbacks. The new estate-like Clubman should also perform strongly, while the new 2-series and X4 will further boost sales. Only 311 BMW i3s were sold last year, but that figure will rise with production coming on full stream this year.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
spqr 25 March 2014

Misleading Article

If we are looking at sales of vehicles produced by BMW Group then it is of course right to include BMW cars, MINI and Rolls-Royce but BMW also make motorcycles so shouldn't those vehicles be included as well? In the case of Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG) which includes Audi then again the article should look at Audi, Skoda, SEAT, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Bentley, Ducati and Bugatti. But VAG also produce commercial vehicles so shouldn't these also be counted? Mercedes-Benz AG products should also include Smart cars and commercial vehicles too. I suspect that if the sales of all automotive vehicles produced by the 3 groups are totalled up VAG will be the biggest producer followed by Mercedes-Benz with BMW in a distant third. This is very likely the reason why BMW are trying to have an alliance with Toyota as in global terms they are quite small and need to spread R and D costs particularly as they chase volume sales in the hatchback sector where profits are thin. The lack of investment can be seen in BMW's poor engine strategy for markets outside Europe. Since ditching most of the petrol straight 6s they have tried to use the N20 4 cylinder turbo instead. In Europe where there is a harsh tax regime on fuel and cars this works to some extent but in markets where fuel is cheap like the Middle East and the USA customers do not want a 4 cylinder engine as it is not regarded as a "premium" product they still want the 3 litre 6s or even V8s. In some ranges such as the top end 5 Series, the 6 Series and so on that option is available but further down the range it is not because where BMW once used a V8 they are going for a turbo 6. This is very probably the reason why Bobstardeluxe sees many more AMGs in Dubai. The more I look at BMW in the 2010s I am reminded of Ford in the early 1980s. At that time FWD was very new for Ford as most of their range were RWD with large-ish engines. As FWD cars gradually replaced the old RWD ranges we were treated to a parade of mediocre badly built cars. Only when the first Mondeo arrived could a Ford be seen as a good car again. Perhaps BMW is about to go the same way. As Stephen Bayley points out in this month's Car BMWs are mostly average or below in their respective classes apart from perhaps the 3 Series and as the company pursues volume it is diluting excellence. Ford managed to survive because it is huge. BMW is not. Perhaps BMW is on the road to total decline. Perhaps in future BMW will only exist as the Euro-focused luxury arm of Toyota a sort of sporty Lexus building badge-engineered Toyotas.
concinnity 25 March 2014

Volume vs Premium.

When they are selling this many, why aren't they 'volume' brands? BMW outsells Alfa , SEAT and Fiat. Isn't that little propellor badge suffering from it's ubiquity?
bomb 24 March 2014


MINI accounts for c.300k of sales. Minus that from BMW's group tally to just get everything with a propeller on its nose. Audi looks to be in a strong position given adjustments made. As for the falling profits which get jumped on by the anti-German brigade, it's called investing in the the future of your business.