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VW, BMW Enjoy Strong Sales Results

Despite sluggish China sales, companies see increases globally.

by on Jun.15, 2015

Through May, Volkswagen is on track to exceed its goal of selling 10 million vehicles worldwide this year.

Despite a slowdown in sales in China, the Volkswagen Group eked out a small gain in sales during the first five months of 2015 and remains on course towards its goal of selling more than 10 million vehicles worldwide.

Globally, the Volkswagen Group delivered 4.2 million vehicles from January to May: up 0.3% from a year ago. Worldwide VW Group sales increased 2.6% in May. Sales by the Volkswagen brand have softened this year but Audi continues to charge ahead as it creeps closer to rival BMW in total sales.

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“Deliveries so far this year have been characterized by mixed market trends. Even with their broad range of young and eco-friendly models, the Volkswagen Group brands are not entirely immune to this situation,” said Christian Klingler, Group Board member for Sales. (more…)

BMW Group Sets Sales Record for Third Quarter

Sales for first nine months also reach new highs.

by on Nov.06, 2013

The BMW Group reported record sales for the third quarter despite challenging times in Europe.

The BMW Group income increased 3.2% during the third quarter as its unit sales jumped more than 10% despite the challenging and volatile business conditions, prevailing across Europe.

“Reported figures for both the third quarter and the nine-month period have developed positively despite the higher level of expenditure on new technologies and a challenging market environment in Europe. We have recorded best-ever worldwide sales volume figures to date and remain within our targeted margin range for the Automotive segment,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

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Based on its strong performance in the first nine months of the year, the BMW Group also reaffirmed its outlook for the current year, Reithofer said. (more…)

First Look: Mini Countryman

Fourth model joins the line. Can it end the sales slump?

by on Jan.20, 2010

Here's the debate: Can repackaging the basic car strengthen the brand and increase sales?

BMW’s slumping Mini brand is adding what it calls a crossover to its lineup, as the fourth model.

The Mini Countryman is needed in the U.S. and globally to reverse a sales decline of the minicars after their marketing momentum, which allowed premium pricing for what are after all econoboxes, ran out of fuel as the Great Recession took hold during the past 18 months.

Countryman – and it won’t be called that in all markets – follows the original Mini two-door, the Clubman and the Convertible. As the first four-door in  the line, it will debut at the Geneva Auto show in March. Countryman will be sold in the U.S. beginning early 2011, while sales in Europe and some other markets outside North America will begin in the fall of 2010.

Last year, worldwide Mini sales came in at 216,538, a roughly 7% drop in a depressed industry. In the U.S., volumes were off 16%, falling to 45,225, but that was still better than the industry overall drop of 24%, officials point out.

Country is still extremely small for the U.S. mass market – 4,097 millimeters or 161.3 inches in length. At first glance, it appears to be just a renaming and repackaging of existing models, although executives say it is a new platform. The wheelbase has been stretched a bit to  2,595 millimeters or 102.2 inches. And the body height has been raised to increase visibility on roads where much larger crossovers abound. All-wheel-drive is optional.

It will be interesting to see if buyers respond to what could be characterized as just the same old crossover formula applied to the smallest vehicle by far of the class — if you can call this a crossover at all. Put the other way, is this an innovative approach to extending the Mini brand, which follows the successful Mini formula?

A split/folding three-seat bench is available as a no-cost option.

Countryman comes with four seats. A three-seat rear bench is available as a no-cost option. The rear seats move fore-and-aft,  either individually or in a 60:40 split for the three-seat bench. The backrests may be tilted for angle either individually or in a 40:20:40 (three-seat bench) arrangement, increasing capacity in the luggage compartment from 350 to 1,170 liters or 12-41 cu. ft.