Features
22 jan 24

BMW targets 500,000 EV sales in 2024 as the 'tipping point for combustion engines passed'

German giant BMW had quite a fruitful 2023, ending the year with record sales and hitting the target in the electric vehicle (EV) category. The automaker is now committed to pushing EV production up as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of BMW, Walter Mertl, underlined their intention by saying, "The tipping point for the combustion engine was last year." 

The BMW Group delivered 2,555,341 vehicles worldwide in 2023, up 6.5% from 2022 and reaching a new all-time high. Most remarkably, the automaker delivered 376,183 all-electric cars, representing 15% of all sales in 2023, up 74.4% from the previous year. 

BMW's success does not rely on solid sales in specific markets. Still, it covers all major regions worldwide, stemming from the solid German auto market and spreading to North America and China: 

  • In December 2023, total EV sales in Germany grabbed 30% of the auto market, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) representing 22,6%. 
  • The US market witnessed the highest sales growth, up 9.4% from 2022, reaching 396,000.
  • In China's largest EV market, sales were up 4.2% over the year and reached 824,932 units. 

In November 2023, BMW announced that production of combustion engines at the main factory in Munich has ended, signalling the boost for EVs. 

EV investment goes up

BMW's well-balanced worldwide growth results from commitment, sound strategy, and heavy investment. 

In August 2023, Mertl said that the brand is "investing more than originally planned in the global ramp-of e-mobility," according to Bloomberg, while the research and development (R&D)) The expenditure was €3,396 million in the half-year report 2023, up 15.4% from 2022, focusing on "new models, the electrification and digitalisation of the vehicle fleet, and automated driving." 

The heavy spending paid off, and the BEV sales of the BMW Group steadily climbed in the last three years:

  Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs)  BEVs Total
2021 224,461 103,855  328,316
2022  218,040 215,775 433,795
2023  190,303 376,183 566,303
BMW sold the half-millionth BEV by the end of 2022. 

 

BMW and MINI performance worldwide in 2023

Europe      942,805 +7.5%
Asia 1,070,142  +4.1%
China 824,932 +4.2%
Americas 480,380 +9.3%
USA 395,741 +9.4%

       

Getting ahead of rivals

One of the critical factors in BMW's success is the brand's wide model range. The all-electric BMW i4 M50 remained the top-selling model for the second year, followed by the BMW i5 M60 xDrive Sedan and the BMW i7 M70 xDrive. BMW was also highly successful in high-performance cars (although not all are electric), including the BMW M2, BMW XM and BMW M3 CS, while the BMW M3 Sedan was the best-selling high-performance car in 2023. 

The figures that BMW left behind in 2023 also point to a critical win in the luxury car segment. In that regard, the German giant managed to best its top rivals in overall sales, including Mercedes-Benz and Tesla.

  • Mercedes-Benz sold almost the same amount of vehicles in 2023 (2,043,800) as in 2022 (2,043,900),
  • Audi sold 1,895,240 an increase of 18% from the previous year,
  • Tesla sold 1,808,581 total electric vehicles, up 38% from 2022 and remained the top BEV seller worldwide. 

What is next? More investment in electrification and digitalisation. At the beginning of 2024, BMW announced a €650 million investment to transform the factory in Munich to all-electric by the end of 2027. BMW wants EVs to represent a third of all its sales by 2026, continue diversifying its product portfolio, and introduce more innovation. 

The futuristic-looking Neue Klass EVs, revealed in September 2023, the first example in the luxury car segment and the artificial intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) based next-generation infotainment systems announced in CES 2024 are a glimpse of future tech. 

BMW successfully answered the high demand for EVs, and "Future growth will primarily come from battery electric vehicles", Mertl said to the automotive media. Now, BMW is working to reach a new target in 2024: Half a million EV sales by the end of 2024. 

The main image shows the next-generation Neue Klass, courtesy of BMW. 

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen