BMW, VW global sales dropped in 2020 due to virus

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen and BMW reported global 2020 sales figures early Tuesday, demonstrating the effects of the global pandemic on the auto industry, which hit mainstream manufacturers especially hard. 

Volkswagen said on Tuesday that sales of its core brand dropped by 15% to 5.3 million vehicles in 2020 as the outbreak of coronavirus and lockdowns imposed to restrict infections hit car dealerships around the world.

VW said it had seen sales recovering in December compared to previous months, rising by 19.5% in western Europe and 14.7% in North America. It added that demand for its electric models jumped by 158% on the year, to 212,000 vehicles.

But even luxury brands were not immune. BMW said it saw a 8.4% drop in global vehicles sales in 2020 as the outbreak of coronavirus took its toll and many retail outlets around the world were closed for months.

However, customer demand picked up in the fourth quarter, rising 3.2% year-on-year, BMW said on Tuesday.

“We are well on the way to achieving our goal of becoming the market leader in battery electric vehicles,” VW brand CEO Ralf Brandstaetter said in a statement.

For the year as a whole, Volkswagen brand sales fell by 23.4% in western Europe and by 17.1% in North America, while the smallest drop was in China, at 9.9%.

BMW said it saw a 8.4% drop in global vehicles sales in 2020 as the outbreak of coronavirus took its toll and many retail outlets around the world were closed for months.

“We succeeded in concluding the year with a strong fourth quarter and once again we lead the premium segment worldwide,” BMW board member Pieter Nota said in a statement.

In total, BMW sold 2,324,809 vehicles last year. In Europe, 2020 sales were down 15.7% and in the United States 18%.

In China, where the pandemic started and where it was brought under control faster than elsewhere, BMW’s 2020 sales bucked the trend and increased 7.4%.



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Saurabh Shukla

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