BMW’s local arm has confirmed that New Zealand’s rising interest in electric vehicles has resulted in a significant sales surge, with plug-in registrations erupting over the last two years.
Speaking at the group’s half-year media briefing, BMW New Zealand managing director Adam Shaver confirmed that EV sales more than doubled in the first half of 2023, compared to 2022.
In 2021, 61 electric BMWs were registered in New Zealand. That number grew by a factor of six to 366 in 2022. In the first six months of 2023, BMW has almost eclipsed what it achieved in all of 2022, recording 313 sales.
Whilst the brand’s EV growth has been impressive, much of this stems from the vast expansion of its EV offerings. Following the demise of the i3, there was a brief period where BMW didn’t have any EVs in its arsenal.
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That changed last year following the launch of the i4, iX3, and iX, with the brand’s EV wing further expanding this year to include the iX1 and i7 flagship. With the 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid and i5 coming later this year, the second half of 2023 could conjure an even larger sales result.
Almost one in every four new BMWs sold locally is now an EV. And, over at Mini, the Mini Electric hatch is the brand’s most popular seller. A total of 908 BMWs and 458 Minis were registered this year to the end of June.
“We’ve seen growth globally [and] we’ve also seen growth in New Zealand,” said Shaver.
“These results, we’re very proud of here at BMW New Zealand, because the first six months of this year have not been without their challenges, whether they’ve been natural weather events or general market conditions.
“We are very pleased to see both BMW and Mini in a growth position for the first half of the year; BMW up close to 3% and Mini up 7% versus the previous year.”
In terms of individual models, Shaver noted that the 4 Series was a key driver for BMW’s local sales lift, with increased supply of the fully electric i4 being particularly pivotal. Its X5 SUV continues to be popular, too, with sales growing 35.9% in 2023’s first half despite the looming arrival of a replacement.
The i4’s growth comes as BMW confirms a new entry-level grade to the line-up in the form of the $98,900 eDrive35 – a model that made its local debut as the NZ Police’s first electric vehicle in early June.
Shaver acknowledged that whilst the overall premium car market is up for the first half of the year, it was trending downwards at the end of May before being saved by a particularly strong June – the managing director crediting July’s Clean Car Discount changes for the swell of premium market orders.
BMW’s growth in local plug-in interest reflects the success of its EV programmes overseas. Globally, BMW’s EV sales in the first half of 2023 doubled year-on-year. Earlier this month the brand confirmed it had sold 1,214,864 EVs between January and June.
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“Strong sales development in general and especially for our fully-electric vehicles, shows that we have the right products on the market at the right time,” said Pieter Nota, member of the board of management of BMW AG for Customers, Brands and Sales.
“The BMW Group will continue its successful ramp-up of electromobility at a high pace in the second half of the year. We are winning over customers worldwide with our young and attractive product line-up.
“Due to our diverse offering – ranging from highly efficient combustion engines to fully electric models – we are addressing the wide variety of customer needs around the globe in an ideal way.”
Although EV adoption was the lead local headline, Shaver also underlined that New Zealand is also a world leader when it comes to customer thirst for the company’s petrol-headed M products.
Having ended last year as the second-strongest market for BMW M models in the world, New Zealand has risen to become the world leader in M car sales this year so far, with the sale of 257 M products accounting for 28.3% of local registrations.
And this number is set to only grow further, with the M2, M3 Touring, and XM all just arriving in the country, and the M3 CS and $340,900 XM Label Red coming later in the year. Other new models slated for launch later this year include the updated X5 and X6, and the 750 xDrive plug-in hybrid.