Sales fall as BMW struggles against tariffs abroad and a changing mood at home

Sebastian McCarthy
The German car company has struggled to increase car sales in both Germany and China
The German car company has struggled to increase car sales in both Germany and China (Source: Getty)

Luxury car manufacturer BMW has seen vehicle sales tumble following a lack of demand in German cities as well as increasing tariff volatility in China.

Brand sales in May fell 1.8 per cent to under 174,000, with the Mini brand suffering the most, falling 4.4 per cent.

The drop in sales is further bad news for the firm when compared with its rivals Mercedes-Benz, who recorded a 2.3 per cent gain in sales last month which was led by a 12.1 per cent rise in China.

However, one positive note for the German manufacturer was that electric vehicle sales shot up 39.2 per cent, meaning the firm looks set to achieve its stated aim of selling over 140,000 electrified vehicles in 2018.

Read more: New car sales rev up 10 per cent in April

Uncertainties around import duties have affected BMW's success in its biggest national market, China, as Chinese customers have been holding back on buying cars after the country announced plans to lower tariffs on imported cars from 25 per cent to 15 per cent from 1 July onwards.

Read more: UK car manufacturing sees April boost

Another pressure facing the German company is the clampdown within its own country on older diesel vehicles, which have already been outlawed in cities such as Hamburg, with a 13.6 per cent drop in German deliveries.

Pieter Nota, BMW’s board member for sales, said: “In the second half of the year, the X3 will once again become fully available worldwide, bringing increased sales momentum in the third and fourth quarters.”

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