They say April showers bring May flowers, but BMW’s sales blossomed last month as the brand reported a 12-percent increase in U.S. sales compared to April 2011. Riding the momentum of a strong first quarter, the automaker moved 21,062 units off of BMW dealership lots in April, easily surpassing its total of 18,801 from the same month last year. BMW sales are now up 15.7 percent year-to-date compared to the same period last year.
The American-built BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) was one of BMW’s main movers and shakers last month, posting a 50.9-percent year-over-year sales increase for April. Meanwhile, sales of the BMW 6 Series coupe spiked by 92.9 percent, and the BMW 3 Series remained the brand’s perennial volume leader, moving 9,003 units for a 20.8-percent increase compared to April 2011.
“The April sales report is particularly good news for the workers that build BMW’s sports utilities down in the South Carolina plant; sales of those vehicles were up 25 percent last month,” said Michael Trontz, general manager of Spring Valley, New York BMW dealership Wide World BMW. “With gas prices the way they are, the fuel-efficient diesel models of the BMX X5 were very popular as well.”
April sales of the diesel BMW X5 xDrive35d were up 51.6 percent year-over-year, helping to boost the SAV’s sales increase to 17.5 percent year-to-date compared to the same period last year. Returning drivers up to 26 mpg on the highway, the 2012 BMW X5 xDrive35d is powered by a 3.0-liter, 265-horsepower clean-diesel engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.
While BMW’s diesel models have made in-roads with American buyers, it is another alternative powertrain that is the focus of the automaker’s latest concept vehicle. Unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show last month, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder plug-in hybrid sports car became the third sustainable vehicle concept released from the BMW i sub-brand. Featuring BMW’s eDrive technology, the two-seat convertible combines a three-cylinder gas engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery to deliver a combined 354 horsepower while still achieving up to 94 mpg in the European testing cycle.
A special version of another BMW i sports car, the BMW i8 Concept coupe, made an appearance in Germany recently, but it was lacking any sign of a drivetrain. Built entirely out of LEGO blocks, a life-size BMW i8 replica was featured at LEGO Kids Fest in Munich last month. There, visitors were invited to help build the replica piece-by-piece until it was fully formed. Though it was unable to produce any horsepower like the real-life model, the LEGO i8 did sport working headlamps.
“Just like the LEGO i8 can be picked apart and rebuilt, we’ll probably see some changes between the i8 Concept and its final production model,” added Trontz. “Though its LEGO model might have it beat when it comes to fuel-efficiency, the real BMW i8 should give off minimal emissions while still packing a whole lot of performance.”