China market hard going for BMW and Mercedes in third quarter

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By Robert Fofana

China market hard going for BMW and Mercedes in third quarter
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows model E400e 4Matic of Mercedes-Benz, a German automobile manufacturer, displayed during an event a day ahead of the official opening of the 2023 Munich Auto Show IAA Mobility, in Munich, Germany, September 4, 2023. REUTERS/Leonhar

BERLIN (Reuters) -German high-end carmakers Mercedes-Benz (OTC:) and BMW (ETR:) saw their sales in China dip in the third quarter, the two companies said on Tuesday, with Mercedes hit by supply chain issues and model changes.

Mercedes-Benz’s supply issues affected its global sales, which fell 4% year-on-year in July-September, although the company said it was still on track to meet its full-year guidance for flat sales growth.

“Volumes were impacted by a model changeover for the E-Class and a supply-chain bottleneck which constrained availability of the GLC (luxury SUV model),” the company said in a statement as it reported that a fall in global wholesale figures to 510,600 vehicles in the third quarter. Sales in China slumped 12% from a year earlier.

BMW fared better, reporting a 5.8% rise in its global retail sales to 621,699 vehicles in July-September, but said retail sales in China of BMW and Mini models dropped 1.8%.

Carmakers have struggled in China this year with weakened demand and deepening price competition, though passenger vehicle sales returned to growth in August.

BMW said that year-to-date sales in China were up 1.7% despite the drag on sales in the third quarter, while Mercedes-Benz nine-month wholesale figures in the country were at the previous year’s level.

Mercedes-Benz said its total sales globally this year so far were up 2% from last year, in line with its full-year guidance for sales at the prior year level.

It does not disclose detailed retailed sales but a spokesperson said they were positive in the third quarter and on a nine-month basis.

BMW said its global retail sales were up 5.1% so far this year.

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