BMW and Volvo lead premium car market restoration

In its 2021 gross sales report, BMW highlighted the introduction of the BMW iX and BMW i4 fashions.

This text first appeared in GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Heart

Many automakers would have been hoping for a robust restoration in 2021 to make up for the unprecedented influence of the COVID-19 pandemic one yr earlier. Nonetheless, ongoing disruption as new variants of the virus sprang up throughout the globe, together with an related semiconductor scarcity that induced digital components provide points meant 2021’s restoration was uneven and fewer spectacular than many had hoped.

Throughout many market segments, gross sales have been constrained by manufacturing capability as automakers struggled to get sufficient elements collectively to fulfil construct targets for his or her numerous fashions. Not solely was manufacturing of recent automobiles disrupted by the semiconductor scarcity, however automakers have been additionally pressured to prioritize some extra worthwhile car sorts comparable to crossovers and SUVs over others comparable to sedans and sports activities automobiles.

Premium producers, particularly, have been extra uncovered to danger from the semiconductor scarcity because of the in depth digital, infotainment and ADAS programs that characteristic of their lineups – all of which require semiconductor merchandise to function. On this briefing, we’ll have a look at the 2021 year-end gross sales figures provided by international premium automakers.

On the worldwide stage, BMW led the gross sales charts within the premium section with greater than two-and-a-half million automobiles bought, equating to an 8.4% enhance in contrast with 2020. This determine additionally contains greater than 300,000 models of MINI-branded automobiles, which compete within the compact premium class. Elsewhere, Volvo Automobiles additionally loved a robust restoration in 2021 with its international gross sales of 698,693 automobiles representing a rise of 5.6% on the earlier yr.

BMW’s key German rivals weren’t as profitable in driving gross sales progress in 2021. Audi’s 2021 international gross sales of 1.68 million models is a 0.7% drop on its efficiency in 2020. In the meantime, Mercedes guardian Daimler noticed its automobile gross sales sink by 5% in 2021 to barely lower than 2.1 million models. The UK’s premium automaker Jaguar-Land Rover noticed a gross sales drop in 2021 however this was restricted to 1.2%, a much smaller drop than the 13.6% gross sales fall it skilled the yr earlier than.

Trying to the USA, we are able to additionally draw from native market information provided by some US and Japanese premium manufacturers. Right here, BMW and MINI proceed to reign supreme, posting each the best unit gross sales of any premium model and the best gross sales progress in comparison with 2020, with its gross sales of 366,574 representing a near-20% restoration on 2020’s determine. Second place was carefully fought between Lexus and Daimler with the Japanese automaker simply nudging forward with 304,476 gross sales. Lexus’ gross sales determine represents a robust 10.7% restoration for the model within the US however, apparently, fellow Japanese premium marque Acura really grew sooner. Honda’s premium model earned 157,408 gross sales in 2021 – a 14.9% enhance on the earlier yr.

Nonetheless, 2021 was a disappointing yr for the US’s home-grown premium manufacturers, with each GM’s Cadillac and Ford’s Lincoln marques seeing gross sales declines whereas the remainder of the market appeared to get well. Gross sales of 118,310 symbolize an 8.6% drop on 2020’s gross sales for Cadillac, with the full-size Escalade SUV doing a lot of the heavy lifting to maintain the model afloat because of a 65% gross sales progress to greater than 40,000 models. Lincoln’s 17.5% gross sales decline in 2021 was nearly completely pushed by its automobile gross sales, which dropped by 82.3% to only greater than 3,100 models – its SUV vary, however, noticed a relatively modest drop of 4.4% to 83,788 models.

In Europe, the same sample was noticed as on the world stage – BMW and Volvo have been in a position to safe gross sales will increase whereas Audi and Daimler noticed declines. Of the three key areas lined on this briefing, Europe noticed the least spectacular restoration developments for premium automakers. BMW’s 3.9% enhance in unit gross sales to 948,087 is smaller than the positive aspects it loved within the US and China, suggesting the European premium market is extra sluggish general than the US or China.

Daimler’s European efficiency in 2021 was significantly poor, with its 696,136 gross sales representing a steep 11.2% drop in contrast with 2020. The corporate pinned the decline on shortages of semiconductor merchandise though, contemplating this example is identical for all automakers, Daimler’s response has clearly been much less efficient than its rivals. The corporate did sound a extra optimistic tone, nonetheless, when commenting on the success of sure top-end fashions together with the brand new S-Class, G-Class premium off-roader and brand-new EQS battery-electric sedan – all of which noticed robust progress in 2021.

The efficiency of premium manufacturers in China, once more, mirrors their successes on the worldwide stage. As soon as once more, BMW and Volvo noticed gross sales progress, with the previous positing an 8.9% enhance in unit gross sales and taking the highest spot for worldwide premium manufacturers working within the nation. Volvo noticed a 3% enhance in gross sales to 171,676 models however that is nonetheless noticeably smaller on a quantity foundation than its premium rivals, all of which managed to promote greater than 700,000 models in China in 2021.

Once more, Audi and Daimler struggled greater than their shut rivals, with gross sales falling by 3.6% and a couple of% respectively. This demonstrates that, whereas Daimler has seen bigger gross sales drops in different markets than Audi, it has carried out barely higher in China, with the VW-owned premium model seeing a few of its steepest falls within the Chinese language market.

Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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