BMW surges as car sales rev up ahead of reopening

Alan Tovey
·2-min read
BMW at Shanghai auto show
BMW at Shanghai auto show

The car industry is revving up for a post-pandemic recovery as manufacturers and dealers report booming sales.

BMW has become the latest car maker to reveal record demand, with sales accelerating by more than a third in the first three months of the year.

The German luxury marque, which also owns Rolls-Royce and Mini, sold 636,606 vehicles in the quarter, partly driven by huge demand in Far East.

Mercedes-Benz is also surging and said on Wednesday it sold 590,999 cars in the quarter - up more than a fifth on the same period a year ago.

On the same day, Volvo said global sales jumped 40pc to a record 185,698 cars.

Volvo car
Volvo car

China, the world’s largest car market, has fuelled the increases as it bounces back strongly from coronavirus, with its economic recovery from the pandemic ahead of the West.

All the manufacturers are rolling out new ranges of electric vehicles, which are helping power sales.

In the UK, dealers are also preparing for surging demand.

Lookers, one of the largest dealer groups, has upgraded its profit forecast for the second time in two months despite being forced to shut its outlets.

The company said it sold 44,000 cars online in the first quarter, ahead of expectations and just 5,000 fewer than in the same period a year ago.

New cars sales were flat in the quarter, while used vehicle transactions fell 6pc.

Lookers now expects annual profit to come in ahead of market expectations at £22.6m, pushing it its shares to pre-pandemic levels.

Lookers
Lookers

Used car specialist Motorpoint also released a bullish trading update, saying it expects “pent-up demand” when it is allowed to reopen on Monday.

In the year to the end of March it sold 68,000 cars, with about half of all retail sales online.

The strength of the car market was underlined by new data from Auto Trader, which said the average used car price car in March was £14,110, a year-on-year rise of 7pc.

Demand for used cars - whose prices are the foundation of the market - has risen over the past year as people avoid public transport.

March’s increase was the 12th month running that car prices have risen, and the first time the rate of increase has accelerated since October.