How important are sales figures for BMW India and Audi America?

How important are sales figures for car manufactures, especially the one’e selling premium luxury on wheels? One would tend to think that as premium brands are not driven by volumes, they would not care much. But, over the last month, we have realized that sales figures are very important, at least in the case of Audi of America and BMW India.

How important are sales figures for BMW India and Audi America (2)

Let’s start with BMW India. They ended 2012 as the No 1 luxury car maker with sales of 9, 375 cars. But they were closely followed by Audi India, who ended the year with 9,003 sales units. BMW India has maintained the No 1 position since 2009, but Audi was catching up fast. When Q1 2013 ended, many were curious to know if Audi had beaten BMW, but there was one problem. BMW India wont’t reveal their nos.

When we asked BMW India why not reveal sales numbers? They said that it is their global policy to not reveal wholesale figures. And as SIAM- Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers requires only wholesale nos, they decided that they will not reveal any sales figures. In a telephonic conversation, they went to the extent of saying that they are a privately owned company and are not legally bound to reveal their sales figures.

This decision of BMW India, did upset SIAM (TOI report), as they too did not have their sales figures. In the event of not revealing sales figures, BMW India had an unfair advantage of sticking on to the No 1 tag, at least till the time they reveal their sales figures. But this was not the case. We managed to get BMW India sales report, (yes, it was us who broke the news first on 29th April 2013, ET even gave a mention) and it confirmed the doubts of many.

The numbers revealed that BMW India had suffered their worst ever decline. Their sales for 2013 Q1 had declined by 40.5% to just 1,410 units, and they had been demoted to the No 3 slot as Audi and Mercedes Benz sold 2,616 and 2,009 units respectively. BMW had not only lost the race for the first three months, but also for the financial year ending March 2013. (Audi India 9350, BMW India, 8686, Mercedes Benz 7015). BMW India still maintains that they are not a volume driven company, but refrains from giving sales figures.

Speaking about Audi of America, they have managed to surprise many when they gave out a press statement against a recent report by CNN Money, which stated – Tesla sales beating Mercedes, BMW and Audi (Yes, we agree that it is misleading). But, Tesla sells just one car, Model S, which is priced at $70,000 and upwards. The comparison was made between similarly priced cars offered by the German trio, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz. Tesla Model S sales has crossed 4,750 units, while that of Audi A8 stand at 1,462 units, BMW 7 Series at 2,338 units, and Mercedes Benz at 4,750 units.

Audi America somehow felt the need to issue a press release (which has now been retracted, you can read it below), to make it loud and clear, that they sell far more cars than Tesla. These two recent instances, make it crystal that sales figures are very important (even if they say otherwise). How important are they for you? Do you look at sales figures before buying a car? Please leave your answers in the comment section below.

How important are sales figures for BMW India and Audi America (1)