BMW Expands Its Presence in the Commercial Fleet Market
CY-2012 was a great sales year for BMW North America. Contributing to this sales effort was the BMW Group Corporate Fleet Program for the BMW and MINI brands, which has expanded its inroads into the commercial fleet market.
The 2012 calendar-year was a strong sales year for BMW, which ended the calendar-year as the No. 1 selling premium brand in the U.S. This marks the second consecutive year that BMW achieved this distinction. In 2011, BMW was the best-selling premium brand in the U.S., ending the 11-year streak by Lexus, which was constrained by inventory shortages due to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Worldwide, BMW Group’s global sales hit a record of 1.8 million units sold in the 2012-CY. BMW’s sales strength was broad-based in all global regions. Sales increased in China by more than 51 percent in calendar-year 2012, fueled by demand for the locally built X1 crossover and the long wheelbase version of the 3 Series sedan. Even in Europe, where industry-wide sales have collapsed due to the European Union’s sovereign debt crisis, BMW’s sales volume has remained steady.
Fleet Sales Gain Momentum
Corporate fleet sales contributed to BMW North America’s 2012 sales performance in the U.S., which witnessed a 45-percent increase. Heading up BMW’s fleet sales in the U.S. is Drew McClelland, corporate sales manager, BMW North America.
“With the newly released BMW 328i, we have seen an increase in acceptance of the vehicle on selectors for both sales fleets and for mid-level managers,” McClelland said. “The new four-cylinder engine in the 328i contributes greatly to a very positive total cost of ownership, which has allowed it to appear on more selectors than the prior model.”
In the past year-and-a-half, BMW North America has quickly become part of the fleet mainstream. It held its second fleet preview Sept. 25-27, 2012, in Spartanburg, S.C., which included 40 corporate fleet managers and fleet management company representatives. The event commenced with an evening reception that previewed several upcoming models. The next day featured a ride-and-drive of the BMW lineup through the picturesque Smoky Mountains, with a mid-day tour of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, N.C.
In addition, attendees were given the opportunity to hone their driving skills at the BMW Performance Center. The half-day event at the Performance Center track included training by professional instructors to develop more advanced driving skills.
Fleet presentations were given on BMW’s global capabilities to assist multinational fleets and an update on the company’s sustainability initiatives, in particular its forthcoming i sub-Brand of products, which will feature the all-electric i3 and the plug-in hybrid i8.