By Andy Sambidge
Luxury car maker says many markets saw double digit growth during 2009 despite overall decline.
BMW Group Middle East has reported a nine percent decrease in sales in 2009 compared to the previous year.
The company said the BMW brand managed to gain a four percent increase in market share against its core competitors, despite the premium automotive sector being down 25 percent.
With a total of 14,557 BMW and MINI vehicles sold across 14 Middle East markets, the group recorded positive sales growth for a number of importers with several markets recording double digit growth, the car maker said in a statement.
Top performing markets included Lebanon, where sales increased by 48 percent (1,001 units), Syria, which reported growth of 53 percent (878 units) and Saudi Arabia where sales improved by 27 percent (2,555 units).
BMW's Abu Dhabi sales also grew six percent to 2,607 units, while Bahrain saw a two percent increase to 656 units.
"To grow market share against our core competitors and to record double digit growth in several markets is a good result given the challenges we faced throughout 2009," said James Crichton, sales and marketing director of BMW Group Middle East.
He added that the launch of the flagship 7 Series model, which was the best-selling car in the Middle East last year, helped the company "weather the challenging market conditions".
Another area of business that delivered strong growth, according to Crichton, was BMW Premium Selection, the company's approved used-car programme, which achieved an increase of 25 percent in total sales in the eight importer markets where the programme is available.
Crichton added: "We anticipate some of the challenges faced in 2009 will remain, but are confident that BMW Group Middle East is in a strong position to achieve growth during 2010."
The BMW brand happens to be one of my favorites, yet I refuse to purchase one while living here since I cannot understand why BMW is more expensive here than in north america and some EU countries, yet other brands like Range Rover, Porsche, Audi are cheaper than those respective countries.
HD you are totally right, maybe BMW forgot to re-adjust their pricing as the world and Dubai has changed! I still remember what a BMW representative told me in 2007: "Its amazing, it doesn't matter how much we increase our prices, we still can't seem to keep up with the demand". I guess this explains your comment on why prices are so high... and BMW still did not realize that things are not the same!
A long time ago when they were just building their SZR outlet the prices were a lot cheaper than the Euro price, we couldn't figure out how they did it! Those days have gone for ever, I should let them go!
To be fair to BMW, I think the USD has depreciated with respect to the EUR, which might explain part of the price increase