By Andy Sambidge
Luxury car maker's Middle East sales chief remains upbeat despite facing 'challenging conditions'.
BMW Group Middle East has announced that it saw a nine percent decrease in first quarter sales compared to the same period last year across its 14 importers in the region.
However, the car maker reported positive growth in sales in Lebanon and Syria where sales were up 108 percent and 116 percent respectively and Saudi Arabia which saw growth of 15 percent.
"A decline in sales was not unexpected given the increased impact of the global economic and financial crisis on the region. The industry is facing challenging conditions , and in the current context a nine percent decline in sales is in line with our expectations," said James Crichton, sales and marketing director, BMW Group Middle East.
The flagship 7 Series model and X6 Sports Activity Coupé were the two biggest volume sellers, he added.
The X6 Sports Activity Coupé saw 584 units sold during Q1, representing a 1,618 percent growth in sales versus 2008. The 7 Series sold 1,118 units, a 93 percent growth in sales.
Across the region the biggest markets by volume of units sold were Dubai with 772 units, followed by Abu Dhabi with 589 units sold. 568 units were sold in Saudi Arabia and 445 units in Kuwait during the first three months of 2009.
BMW's Premium Selection (used car) sales continued to grow strongly with a 59 percent increase versus 2008 in sales across eight markets, with Saudi Arabia leading the way.
Reiterating BMW Group's commitment to the region, Crichton added: "We expect the rest of 2009 to be full of challenges but are confident that we will weather the stormy economic conditions successfully as we are a strong performing company with a solid foundation."For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.