BMW sales grow 9.1% in best-ever year

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Munich firm moves above Mercedes for the first time in five years to become the top-selling premium brand

BMW achieved its highest annual sales figures to date with growth of 9.1% in 2021, despite supply bottlenecks and issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The German manufacturer sold a total of 2,213,795 units worldwide, making it the number one brand in the global premium segment. 

BMW attributes the significant growth to its recently updated line-up, its “powerful operational performance” and a “clear focus” on ramping up its electric vehicle production. 

Sales of the firm’s electric models rose 70.4% year on year to reach a total of 328,316 EVs sold across both the BMW and Mini brands. 

Worldwide, around 13% of all BMW and Mini cars sold in 2021 were electrified, while this figure stood at 23% in Europe. 

One in 10 BMW X3s sold was fully electric. The i3 also achieved significant growth, with sales up 5.4% to 28,216 units sold. A third of Mini 3-Door Hatch models sold were fully electric as the brand sold 24,851 units for impressive growth of 98.2%. 

“In 2022, we want to continue our profitable growth and we will systematically expand our range of fully electric vehicles,” said Pierter Nota, BMW board member for sales. “We have set ourselves particularly ambitious growth targets in this area and aim to more than double our sales of fully electric vehicles from last year.” 

BMW’s M performance arm also posted all-time record sales, delivering 163,542 vehicles to customers in 2021. The firm says the M3 and M4 were standout performers, with the X5 M and X6 M SUVs also doing well. 

European sales grew 3.9% to a total of 948,087 units. A record 846,237 BMW and Mini vehicles were delivered in China for growth of 8.9%. Sales of electric models rose 69.6% in the country, with 21,000 BMW iX3 models sold. 

In the US, deliveries increased by 20.8% to 336,644, which BMW described as “on par” with pre-pandemic levels in 2019. SUVs were the biggest sellers in the US, with the BMW X range forming 60% of total sales.

Overall, the results means BMW has outsold Mercedes-Benz for the first time in five years. Rolls-Royce, owned by the BMW Group, also reported its best-ever sales in its 177-year history last year.