BMW bucks industry slowdown, registers double-digit growth in 2011 means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine importer of BMW said sales last year was robust despite economic uncertainties and the supply disruptions endured by the region’s automotive industry.

Glen Dasig, Asian Carmakers Corp. (ACC) executive director and sales and marketing head, told that the company sold 792 units last year or 19.3 percent more than in 2010.

Its best-selling models are the 3 Series, which make up more than 40 percent of ACC’s total sales, followed by the 1 Series.

Dasig said most of their customers were “conquest” buyers, or those who have not tried the BMW brand and those who have moved up to the high-end market.

“The junior executives, who may be in the market for a Camry have decided to go for our X1 model or our new 1 Series,” he said.

For this year, ACC expects only a single-digit rise in the number of units sold. Dasig said the company met “challenges”, with customers delaying their purchases since the first quarter. He however remains optimistic that the second quarter performance would be better, if the macroecnomic indicators are to be followed.

Dasig said that luxury brands stand out during bad economic conditions because fear feed the conservatism of consumers who are looking for long-lasting goods, which can be found in up-market products.

“During a recession, consumers tend to go for products or brands with high reputation and BMW benefitted from that. That is why Louis Vuitton and Chanel are still there, making money,” he said.

Aside from the reputation that BMW enjoys, it also helped that the carmaker did not suffer from supply chain disruptions that plagued the rest of the Asian automotive industry because of the Japan tsunami and the Thai floods last year.

ACC said their units continued to move while other Philippine dealers had to turn down customers because of the delays in the delivery of units.

According to Theiry Weidenbach, BMW Group Asia’s Regional Manager for international direct and special sales, Asia, excluding China, is the company’s main growth driver, registering a 25-percent increase in sales in 2011. 

ACC on Tuesday formally handed over the fleet of BMW 5 Series to the Philippine government for the 45th Asian Development Bank Annual Governor’s Meeting on May 2 to 5.

BMW is the official premium mobility sponsor for the ADB Governors’ Meeting and the cars that will be loaned to the government will ferry visiting heads of states. The company will also provide the chauffeurs who are also trained in security and emergencies.

ACC works with six dealers in the country: Autowelt BMW in Cebu, Autohaus BMW in Quezon City, Autozentrum BMW in Alabang, Prestige Cars BMW in Makati, Premier Cars BMW in Pampanga and Premium Motoren BMW in Cagayan de Oro.