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Published on September 2nd, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan


How Far Will BMW USA Sales Fall In 2018?

September 2nd, 2017 by  

It has been said repeatedly — the auto company likely to be most hurt by the Tesla Model 3 is BMW. BMW is known for sporty. Tesla does sporty better. BMW is known for innovative. Tesla does innovative better. BMW is known for premium. Tesla does premium better. (Note: Some people will disagree with the latter, but my experience is that most people feel like Tesla is a class up. I heard this two days ago from a guy who had recently rented a BMW and was riding in our Model S at the time.)

One year ago, we were already wondering how much demand for the Model 3 was hurting BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, and even 5 Series sales. For sure, some people have decided to skip getting another BMW while they wait for their Model 3. As the Model 3 gets closer and closer to the mass market, that effect has to be growing. Has anyone decided to skip another BMW 320i to wait for their Model 3? For sure! How many people have done so? We have no idea.

One thing we can look at, though, is sales. And we can take our own wild guesses of what will happen to BMW sales as Model 3 production ramps up. Thanks to John Moore for stimulating this fun exercise with a recent comment under another CleanTechnica article: “I believe that the average BMW 3 Series buyer is the closest thing going to an exact clone of the average Model 3 buyer. If Tesla sells 400,000 of these in calendar 2018, how many 3 Series BMWs will be sold?

“BMW only gives combined US figures for the 3 and 4 Series together. The last three years sales have been approx. 146,000, 140,000, and 106,000 last year. It looks like sales have dropped off in the past 3 months or so this year. I believe that this is because of the Model 3. Looks like BMW won’t sell 100,000 of the 3 and 4 in the US this calendar year. 2018 looks like it could be apocalyptic. I’m thinking 50,000 to 75,000. A bloodbath. And really, why would you buy an obsolete 325i when you could get a Model 3? It’s yesterday’s design.”

Before getting into the polls, here are 2015–2017 sales data for the BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, and 4 Series:

2015 US Sales 2016 US Sales 2016 Jan–July US Sales 2017 Jan–July US Sales
BMW 2 Series 13,020 15,519 10,765 6,646
BMW 3 Series 94,540 70,458 39,775 31,791
BMW 4 Series 46,069 35,763 21,462 23,217
Total 153,629 121,740 72,002 61,654

By the way, yes, you have to take into account other market shifts on your own — from sedans to CUVs/SUVs, etc.

With that long preface out of the way, what’s your projection for USA sales of the BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, and 4 Series in 2018? Here’s a poll to log your responses:

Create your survey with SurveyMonkey


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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