BMW feels out China EV market sweet spot

German firm able to maintain its pricing on premium EVs as Chinese price war rages

BMW feels out China EV market sweet spot
BMW recently announced a retooling of its Dadong, Shenyang facility for additional EV capacity

German OEM BMW has hailed stable pricing on its premium EVs in China amid ongoing price wars in the country's fiercely competitive mass market.

With year-on-year EV sales growth of 18pc in China in the first quarter, BMW outperformed both the country's total BEV market and also gained share in the country's premium electric segment.

Management is also confident that the Chinese-produced i5 electric sedan — a flagship EV for the firm in China — has not yet hit its stride. The vehicle launched shortly after the Lunar New Year holiday and has therefore "only been in showrooms for a few weeks", BMW CFO Walter Mertl says.

Importantly, the segment that BMW is targeting with the i5 BEV affords it some rare pricing stability in the Chinese domestic market, while the country's affordable NEV market sees ongoing price cuts which have already dented revenues for leading EV makers.

"We are producing it in China; we all have these positive local effects already [...] since we build it and produce it. And the prices are really stable on the X5," BMW chairman of the management board Oliver Zipse says.

"Our ambition is there to keep or even increase the market share," Zipse continues.

And Mertl explains that this aim is backed by confidence both in an uptick in i5 sedan sales as the product ramps up, but also in decreasing material costs, which he says were "not just exceptional for non-China, but also for China with respect to manufacturing costs".

BMW last month also announced fresh investment into its factory in Dadong, Shenyang, which will retool the facility towards additional EV capacity without the need for renewed manufacturing licenses.

"The rest of the world we have about 2.93pc [market share] for BMW but we already have 3.7pc in China," Zipse says. "And since the industry in China is growing, we need additional capacity for the future specifically — because we are currently increasing our market share on the BEV side."

The BMW brand's worldwide BEV sales grew by 41pc year-on-year in Q1 and rose to 21pc of the brand's total deliveries.

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