I do not, naturally, think of BMW as an electric car company. I know they sell electric cars because David owns one and I’ve driven a bunch of them. It dawned on me when I looked at the just-released sales report from BMW that the Bavarian automaker was the first traditional luxury carmaker to take electrification seriously so it shouldn’t be a surprise to me that they’re the furthest ahead.
BMW is absolutely smoking the other German luxury brands when it comes to electrification (and the American and other European ones, too). It’s not just growing quickly, it’s selling a ton of models. Sure, it’s not Tesla, but other than BYD no one is Tesla.
It’s a day that ends in “y” so let’s toss in a labor update in The Morning Dump from our friends up north, I’ve also got some Lordstown Motors news (seriously), and it’s Tuesday so I’m going to share some Škoda news.
BMW Has Sold A Lot Of EVs So Far This Year
The photos for this TMD are of the BMW iX, which I’ve driven and have yet to make time to review. For those of you who were put off by the way it looks I regret to inform you that, actually, the BMW iX is very good. It not only delivered efficient range, it felt like a car in a way many EVs do not these days. There were buttons! I love buttons.
Apparently, making good cars is a nice recipe for selling cars. In its latest sales report, BMW celebrates a 5.1% growth globally. This isn’t a giant number as BMW, like other automakers, is coming out of years of supply chain disruptions.
Electric cars, though, are selling in significant numbers. Through the first three quarters of 2023, BMW Group BEV sales (that includes Rolls-Royce, Mini, and BMW) reached 246,867, which is an increase of 92.6% year-over-year. If you add in PHEVs, that number grows to 385,411, but it’s obvious that BMW BEVs are leading the way in growth (when you add PHEVs, growth drops to 36% year-over-year).
This makes sense as the BMW i4 (shown directly above) and iX (shown above that) are competitive, whatever you think about how they look. The xM is a little harder for me to understand, but in the United States, the company managed to move more than 1,600 of them YTD. By comparison, BMW has sold more than 12,000 of the iX YTD, which is a year-over-year increase of 281%.
To put this in context, Mercedes is a somewhat close second with 174,500, which is up 97%. Audi hasn’t released numbers yet, but they’d sold about 75,000 BEVs through the first half of the year so, if that rate holds, it should be in third..
Unifor Is Going After GM
Ford made a quick deal with Unifor, Canada’s autoworker union, and has benefitted from not having to fight a battle on two fronts. GM, though, wasn’t able to reach a deal in time.
From Automotive News Canada:
“Pattern” refers to Unifor’s strategy of trying to take their Ford deal and apply it to other automakers. GM and Unifor reportedly couldn’t agree to demands related to pensions/retiree support and a strategy for part-time workers.
Also, I definitely included this story because of this hilarious photo of the most Canadian-style raised fist I’ve ever seen. It’s like Lech Walesa just way, way more polite. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving week!
Bankrupt Lordstown Motors Assets Purchased By Old CEO
The seemingly never-ending struggle of Ohio-based electric truckmaker Lordstown Motors adds yet another chapter to its story. I guess this is Chapter 12 since the last one was Chapter 11.
Per reports, a company called LAS Capital LLC, which is basically the former CEO Stephen S. Burns and some of the company’s former employees, purchased the company’s assets for about $10 million. I’ll give local outlet The Cleveland Plain Dealer a chance to describe what’s going on here:
The sale includes all machinery, including the hub motor assembly lines, the battery module assembly lines, the battery pack assembly lines and related or associated machinery and all inventory, among other items..
The deal contains termination rights for both the company and LAS Capital, including the right to terminate the deal if it doesn’t close by Oct. 31.
A Lordstown spokesman said in an email to cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer that the company is not providing additional comment beyond the documents that were filed.
It’s not yet clear what the company will do with the assets should the deal close.
Škoda Will Re-enter Kazakhstan’s Market
I would be remiss this Tuesday if I didn’t mention the big news in the Škoda world. Sure, there’s a new Kodiaq, but let’s talk about the surprise announcement coming out of Central Asia. Škoda is back!
From a Škoda press release:
Škoda Auto operated in Kazakhstan between 2005 and 2021, delivering over 23,000 vehicles to customers in the country. To ensure consistently high standards of customer service, the company has engaged a new production and sales partner for its regional operations. Starting next year, vehicles produced at the factories in Mladá Boleslav and Kvasiny will be assembled for the Kazakh market at a plant operated by Allur Company in Kostanay and distributed to local dealerships. The model series available to customers will include the Kodiaq, Kamiq, and Karoq SUVs alongside the bestselling Octavia.
In Kazakhstan, where currently only 186 cars are registered per 1,000 residents, Škoda Auto sees considerable growth potential in its automotive market. The overall market sales volume is forecast to surpass 200,000 units in total within the next five years. With these projections, the car manufacturer aims to harness the momentum, targeting a sustained market share of 5% between 2024 and 2028.
The re-entry into the Kazakh market aligns with Škoda Auto’s ongoing internationalisation strategy. In September 2023, the brand celebrated its official launch in Vietnam. Additionally, it is strategically leading the Volkswagen Group’s ‘Brand Group Core’ in the ASEAN region, aiming to leverage growth opportunities for the Group. Moreover, the Czech automaker strategically oversees the Volkswagen Group’s activities in the dynamically growing Indian market.
Everywhere but here…
The Big Question
Of the German lux brands, which company is best positioned to take advantage of the growing shift towards electrification?
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