BMW’s sales dropped over 20 per cent in the first quarter of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the German car giant said today.
Due to the widespread closure of showrooms across Europe and the rest of the world, the automotive firm sold only 477,111 vehicles in the first three months of the year.
BMW said that around 80 per cent of retailers in Europe were shut due to the pandemic, as were about 70 per cent in the US.
Sales from its Mini subsidiary were the worst hit, falling 23 per cent to 64,449, whilst sales of luxury Rolls Royce models fell to 853 cars.
China, where the outbreak began, was company’s worst hit market for the quarter, with sales falling 31 per cent.
Board member Pieter Nota said: “We are reacting to the globally challenging sales situation caused by the corona pandemic and are flexibly adapting our production volume to demand.
“In this way, we are creating important conditions for the company’s continued economic success”.
He added that the firm was seeing the first signs of an improvement to market conditions in China.
BMW’s plants are due to open again from 20 April, with the company procuring face masks and medical equipment to protect its workers.
The car giant’s update came the same day that German auto body the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) announced that new registrations had fallen 38 per cent in March.
Although the drop is the largest the country has ever reported, it was not as high as falls in Italy, France and Spain, where the number of registrations fell 85 per cent, 72 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.
In the UK new registrations fell over 44 per cent, a steeper decline than during the 2008 financial crisis.