Daimler deploys electric school buses in America

Daimler electric bus America

Daimler-owned Thomas Built Buses has begun supplying fully-electric versions of the famous black and yellow American school bus.

The first 50 examples of the ‘Jouley’ have been delivered in the state of Virginia. A further 1,000 of these buses have been ordered in an initiative backed by Virginia-based power company Dominion Energy.

That’s the largest order to date for electric school buses in the USA.

Daimler electric bus America

The bus has been developed in collaboration with California company Proterra. The battery has a total power capacity of 220 kWh – just over double that of a top-end Tesla Model S – and has a theoretical range of 134 miles. These buses are also the only of their kind to feature DC fast charging as standard.

So how quickly can an electric school bus be charged? If the 60 kW fast charging system is used, it’ll juice up in around three hours. That leaves plenty of time in between the morning drop-off and the afternoon pick-up for buses to be prepared for their second shift of the day.

Interestingly, these buses are also equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology, allowing them to supply power back into the power grid.

Daimler electric bus America

How can you tell the difference between the new electric bus and its diesel predecessor? Well, if it’s running, you’ll clock on even with your eyes closed. There will be no diesel chunter or clatter – and no smell of fumes. To look at, the differences are subtle. Pictured above is an older, more traditional American school bus.

There’s blue LED lighting in the grille to mark it out, while ‘Jouley’ is plastered down the side. It still has the silhouette of the familiar American school bus, right down to the long snout where you might ordinarily find an engine.

Matt Farah Porsche 911

Rally-ready Porsche 911 is the perfect commuter car

Matt Farah Porsche 911

Many think the answer to speed humps and potholed roads is a crossover. They’re wrong. The correct answer is a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911, as auto journalist Matt Farah has discovered in Los Angeles.

Glamorous it may be, but Los Angeles has one thing in common with Britain: how damaged its road network is. Farah sought to find a solution.

”Although we are blessed with places like the Angeles Forest and Malibu Canyons, two of the finest places on Earth to drive a sports car, the city itself is a nightmare,” Farah explains.

“The infrastructure is crumbling, repairs are rarely thorough, the freeway expansion joints are a sports car owner’s worst nightmare, and for a city as ‘spread out’ as LA is, it’s awfully crowded all the time. It can be a real challenge in low, modern sports cars.”

A baja-bashing Ford Raptor might have been a more obvious choice than a 911. However, such a truck would be more difficult to thread through LA than the compact, classic Porsche.

Matt Farah Porsche 911

“I wanted something like the Raptor, but smaller, so the obvious answer was a rally car. Once I drove Leh Keen’s personal Safari 911, it was like a light bulb moment.”

Keen is a builder of go-anywhere Porsche 911s, aping the classic ‘Safari’ rally cars. Farah had a taste of the first build a few years ago. He then described it as “totally different to what most people think you should be doing with a 911”. Contrarian though the idea is, he was sold on the project: “I sent him a deposit check (sic) almost immediately afterwards”.

Going for an 87-onwards car, Farah wanted to ensure a better gearshift feel, and be able to pick the colour. Keen can handle the job from start to finish, including sourcing a car, if the buyer wants. Matt’s is a 1987 Carrera 3.2 in Cassis Red, a desirable colour preserved underneath a wrap.

Building a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911Matt Farah Porsche 911

Turning a sports car into a diet dune buggy is no small job: the parts list is extensive. Front to back, it features bash bars, skid plates, rally light pods, shaved side door mirrors, tucked bumpers, Braid Motorsport Fuchs-style wheels, Elephant Racing Safari suspension, a Quaife limited-slip differential and BF Goodrich K02 tyres. It’s jacked-up, jump-ready and looks the absolute business.

On the inside, Matt made a bold but practical choice for the trim. Replacing the burgundy leather is commercial-grade LA city bus fabric, designed for 20 years of constant wear. “It’ll probably outlast the rest of the car,” he says.

There were worries it wouldn’t match the rest of the burgundy leather that was retained (headliner, door uppers, dashboard upper and base carpet), but it turned out well. Even the new Momo Prototipo steering wheel was trimmed to match the burgundy, and apparently took 20 attempts to get right.

From the Baja to the boulevardMatt Farah Porsche 911

You can keep your Audi A1 Citycarver, or your Vauxhall Adam Rocks. Matt Farah has helped create the perfect city car. “It is literally my daily driver,” he concludes.

“I recently loaded three bushels of firewood behind the rear seats. I mean – it’s not meant for attacking the canyons or going to the racetrack, it’s meant for going to the shops, driving to my office, running errands and then taking to the dirt for some fun. It really is the best parts of a Baja truck and the best parts of an air-cooled 911.”

Extinction Rebellion Brussels Motor Show

Extinction Rebellion targets Brussels Motor Show

Extinction Rebellion Brussels Motor Show

Environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion has demonstrated at the Brussels Motor Show, with acts of vandalism and intimidation reported. 

“We don’t trust the car industry to provide solutions on mobility or ecology,’ said Lyllou Christine from Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion Brussels Motor Show

“If the car industry wants to be part of the solution to the climate and ecological crisis as they pretend, then they should be doing all they can to help a fundamental and democratic change in the way we perceive and practise mobility.

“New, large, powerful individual cars, whether powered by petrol, electricity, or whatever other type of energy source must no longer be made the symbol of human freedom and accomplishment: they are in reality one of the balls and chains which are holding us back.”

Extinction Rebellion Brussels Motor Show

As well as spray painting some cars, with SUVs a specific target, some members staged ‘die-ins’, which involved laying down and blocking access to the event. Some climbed the exhibition building to drop a banner saying ‘Open your eyes’ over a carmaker’s advert.

Photos show members of the protest group masked with the Shell logo covering their faces. Curiously, one of the images the group posted to its Facebook group appears to depict a vandalised Tesla Model 3 EV. Police at the show have arrested 185 protesters so far. 

The activity follows last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, where it was reported that security had been upped to combat such threats.

Extinction Rebellion Brussels Motor Show

Extinction Rebellion posted a statement on January 6 about what it calls the ‘salon of lies’. It claimed that it ‘does not aim at blocking the fair, nor targeting the visitors themselves’. At some point there seems to have been a change of plan on that front.

‘By telling the truth about the false image car companies give of themselves, Extinction Rebellion sides with all victims of the industry’s noxious practices,’ says the website.

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Race Retro Super Aguri F1 Simulator

This could be the ultimate gaming setup with a real F1 car

Race Retro Super Aguri F1 Simulator

If you love racing games, but feel your current living room setup lacks a little authenticity, this could be the solution. 

One of the lots listed at the forthcoming Race Retro Classic and Competition Car sale, organised by Silverstone Auctions, is a gaming simulator featuring a real ex-Formula 1 racing car. 

Supplied with all the equipment needed to get playing, this could make for an intriguing business venture or extravagant F1 home indulgence

Big dreams and rapid plans

Race Retro Super Aguri F1 Simulator

The Formula 1 car in question was used by the short-lived Super Aguri F1 team during the 2006 season. Founded by 1990s F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, a deal to supply engines and other support by Honda helped prepare the team for competition. 

Developed from a 2002 Arrows A23 chassis, and known as the SA05, the first Super Aguri car hit the track at the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix. Driven by Japanese Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide, the SA05 was used for eleven rounds of the 2006 season.

Success was hard to find, with Ide replaced after four rounds by Frenchman Franck Montagny. Sato proved his ability, taking the Super Aguri SA05 to a respectable twelfth position at the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

(Virtual) Reality bites back

Race Retro Super Aguri F1 Simulator

Super Aguri launched a new chassis from the 2006 German Grand Prix onwards, leaving the SA05 redundant. The whole team would persevere until the middle of the 2008 season, where financial difficulties saw Super Aguri disappear from the grid. 

It meant this genuine ex-F1 chassis was transformed into a simulator, with an electrically adjustable force feedback steering wheel and pedals installed. The air intakes house speakers, delivering a full surround sound experience.

Silverstone Auctions are also keen to point out the simulator features a ‘wider’ tub chassis, helping accommodate those not quite racing driver-sized.  

Playing for keeps

Race Retro Super Aguri F1 Simulator

A 55-inch monitor is provided, connected to a modern laptop running the latest Codemasters F1 2019 racing game. We imagine enough tinkering could allow different games to be used as well.

Having been part of an ongoing commercial outfit, the F1 simulator is being sold with an enclosed Brian James double-axle trailer. The trailer has had four new tyres fitted, and has also been recently serviced.

Silverstone Auctions note that two events have already been booked in 2020 for the simulator, offering opportunities to continue the business usage. 

Retro-spectacular

Race Retro Super Aguri F1 Simulator

It leaves the winning bidder with the choice to make money, or simply have the Super Aguri as the elaborate centrepiece for a motorsport-themed entertainment room.

The Race Retro Competition and Classic Car Sale 2020 takes place from Friday February 21st, to Sunday 23rd. A number of intriguing lots have already been listed, including a rare Australian-specification Ford Escort RS2000

Held at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, the Race Retro show features live Group B rallying action, plus the chance to see legendary race cars up close.

2021 Jaguar F-Type

Blue Monday 2020: why car buyers have got the blues

Automobili Pininfarina Battista

Today, Blue Monday (20 January), is said to be the day of the year that we’re at our most glum. But does blue have to be tarnished with feelings of sadness? We reckon it’s one of the nicest colours for a car –and it’s experiencing something of a renaissance among buyers.

There’s evidence that 2020 will be the year for blue cars, too. For starters, it was the flavour of the month at the 2019 LA Motor Show, which closed out the last motoring year. From the Mustang Mach-E, to the Jeep Gladiator, it seemed that everything was blue on the show floor in LA.

Outside of sunny California, a number of cars revealed in 2019 wore also blue, including the new comprehensively updated Jaguar F-Type, the Pininfarina Battista electric hypercar, new Renault Clio, and Ferrari F8 Tributo.

Blue’s official seal of approval2021 Jaguar F-Type

Blue is even the critic’s choice for 2020. The Pantone Color Institute has announced that Classic Blue is its colour of the year for 2020.

Classic Blue (19-4052) was commended for its reassuring qualities, being ‘suggestive of a sky at dusk’ and ‘imprinted in our psyches as a restful colour’ bringing ‘a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge’.

The artistic (if not colourful) language doesn’t stop there: “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

“It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky.

“Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”

Quite.

Blue by numbers2020 Renault Clio price and specs

It’s more than 20 years since blue was the best-selling car colour in the UK. It slipped to second in 2000, just as Messrs Ryan, Webbe, Costa and James were about to storm the pop charts, sending teenage girls into a frenzy.

For blue (the colour), it was less a case of All Rise, and more one of Curtain Falls. Other Blue hits are available.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest that blue held on to second spot until 2005, when it dropped to third until 2010. In 2011 and 2012 it was fifth, but blue was notable for its absence in 2013. It returned to fourth spot in 2014, where it has remained ever since.

Lotus Evora GT in Cyan Blue

In 2018, 381,591 cars were registered in blue, which represents a 16.1 percent market share. It would take a massive shift for blue to break into the top three. The sombre hues of grey, black and white have been the dominant shades for nearly a decade.

Grey was the dominant colour in 2019 overall, but the signs were already there last year that blue was gearing up for a comeback. In third place, with 21 percent popularity, it wouldn’t take much for it to catch up with grey, at 22.1 percent market share. If it jumps 4.9 percent like it did from 2018 to 2019, it’s on to a winner.

In terms of segments, blue was the leader. It lead with a 24.5 percent market share with small cars, and a 28.6 percent market share with medium cars.

LA BluesLexus LC 500 Convertible

Maybe the car manufacturers were trying to tell us something at LA. Our man Richard’s postcards from Los Angeles paint a very blue picture. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, LA is more like 25 shades of blue.

Leading the charge in LA was Lexus, with its drop-dead gorgeous LC 500 Convertible. It was painted in a glorious shade of Structural Blue, with a blue top thrown in for good measure.

Without going all M&S about this, Structural Blue is no ordinary paint colour. Good luck getting this one colour-matched at your local DIY store.

Lexus LC Convertible

Lexus says it took 15 years to develop the colour, with its team drawing inspiration from the Morpho butterfly. The production process takes eight months, 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections.

You can read more about the paint here – it’s more interesting than it sounds – but one thing’s for sure: LC 500 drivers are going to fear stone chips like an ice cream seller fears the rain. Following a gritter lorry in a Structural Blue Lexus is a definite no-no.

More evidence of a blue renaissance comes from Alfa Romeo, with the 2020 Stelvio and Giulia showcasing a new Anodised Blue hue. It’s always slightly off-putting to see a Giulia Quadrifoglio in anything other than Alfa Red or Competizione Red, but it certainly wears it well.

Visions in Blue

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Still not convinced that blue is the next big thing? The most eye-catching colour available on the Ford Mustang Mach-E is Grabber Blue Metallic, which just happens to be one of three colours available on the limited-run First Edition cars.

Here’s the thing: blue is a very flattering colour – it can work on cars of all shapes and sizes. From slab-sided SUVs to convertibles that look like they’ve been poured from a bottle, blue is light a little black dress: perfect for any occasion.

If car manufacturers are doing their bit to tempt you away from colours more akin to darkness, drizzle and electrical appliances, the least you can do is take the bait. Let’s make blue the number one hue in 2020…

Blue cars at LA Auto Show 2019

DAMD Suzuki Jimny Defender Kit

This body kit turns a Suzuki Jimny into an amazing Land Rover Defender replica

DAMD Suzuki Jimny Defender KitLove the new Suzuki Jimny, but want it to look just a little bit more like a classic Land Rover Defender?

Your wishes have been answered by Japanese tuning company Dream Automotive Development & Design (better known as DAMD), thanks to their latest product offering.

As reported by Wired.co.uk, DAMD now offer a special ‘Little D’ conversion kit for the latest Jimny, transforming it into a pint-sized replica of the famed Defender.

Defending the faith

DAMD Suzuki Jimny Defender Kit

With rugged styling, genuine off-road ability, and an overall air of utilitarianism the new Jimny is arguably already the spiritual successor to the original Defender. 

Driving the Jimny when launched in October 2018, we said that it could “kick sand in the eyes of any crossover”, and was in the same league as the “Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Class” in the dirt.

Adding the DAMD Little D kit to the Jimny now means it can fully resemble the British icon that has helped inspire it, with a comprehensive body kit and a range of optional parts to complete the look. 

DAMD Suzuki Jimny Defender Kit

The core Little D kit includes new bumpers front and rear, a replacement front grille, reshaped bonnet, and widened wheel arches. New lights are added to further the transformation, along with raised lettering to the leading edge of the bonnet. 

DAMD also fits oversized mud flaps as part of the kit, and completes the shrunken Defender image with a green oval badge on the front grille. 

Once fitted, the Little D kit lets the Jimny do a more than passable impersonation of the Defender. Further options include painted steel wheels, and seat covers finished in tweed-effect trim. 

Gangsta’s Paradise in miniature

DAMD Suzuki Jimny Defender Kit

 

The Little D is not the only body kit offered by DAMD for the new Jimny. The company has also created the ‘Little G’ version, which apes the looks of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. 

As with the Defender version, turning your Jimny into a pimped-out Mercedes replica needs a new bumper, front grille, wheel arch extensions, and upgraded lights. 

DAMD is also set to launch new Jimny body kits this year. The light blue ‘Dronco’ version is designed to replica the classic Ford Bronco, cleverly done just as collectors go into overdrive for the retro version. The yellow ‘Roots’ offering pays homage to the original Suzuki Jimny from the 1970s. 

DAMD Suzuki Jimny Defender Kit

Prices for the Little D conversion kit begin at the equivalent of £1,750 plus taxes in Japan, rising to £3,200 should the special steel wheels be added. 

DAMD’s UK importer, Sumo Power, states that buying the Little D kit here should cost £2,500 plus VAT and take up to four months to arrive. Add the inevitable cost of painting and fitting the kit, and it could easily push the cost of a £16,249 of a base Jimny to £20,000.

That still makes it cheaper than the G-Class inspired kit created by Kahn Design, and the Defender vibe seems perfectly suited to the nature of the Suzuki Jimny.

Roush Phase 2 Mustang Supercharger Kit

This new Roush Performance supercharger takes a Ford Mustang to 750 HP

Roush Phase 2 Mustang Supercharger Kit

Ford tuning experts Roush Performance have announced details of their upgraded Phase 2 supercharger kit for V-8 Mustangs. 

Designed to fit 2018 to 2020 ‘Stangs powered by the 5.0-liter V-8 ‘Coyote’ engine, Roush promises this is “the most powerful retail supercharger” made by the Michigan-based company. 

With a claimed output of 750 horsepower, along with 670 lb-ft of torque, the new Phase 2 kit certainly has impressive numbers on its side.

Closing in on the GT500

Roush Phase 2 Mustang Supercharger Kit

The impressive new figures bring the can bring the output of a Roush-equipped Mustang close to the 760 horsepower found in the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500. Roush’s new ‘charger notably delivers more torque than the 625 lb-ft in the new $72,990 Shelby. 

Previous Roush superchargers had seen a peak power of 727 horsepower, but new modifications have unlocked the extra output. Calibration settings for 93-octane fuel have made the biggest difference, along with a new low-temperature radiator to keep everything chilled. 

According to Roush Performance, hundreds of hours of design and testing went into the new supercharger kit, which meets U.S. emissions regulations in all 50 states. Roush also states the kit can be combined with Mustangs using either the ten-speed automatic transmission, or the six-speed manual unit.

No fun for European Ford fans

Roush Phase 2 Mustang Supercharger Kit

However, those with latest European-specification ‘Stangs are out of luck. Due to the particulate filters fitted to comply with Euro 6.2 emission standards, the Roush Phase 2 kit cannot be used on those cars. 

When fitted by a Ford dealership, or a certified technician, the supercharger comes with a 3-year / 36,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. The $7,999.00 kit comes with all the necessary hardware of the conversion, which Roush estimates requires eight hours to perform.

Ford fans with an existing Phase 1 Roush-supercharged Mustang have the option of buying an upgrade kit for $649. This includes the new low-temperature radiator, and the updated ECU software for 93-octane fuel.

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

The Ferris Bueller Ferrari is up for sale

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

You could own one of the most famous Ferraris in the world. It might be a replica, but it’s the 250 GT replica that co-starred in the cult 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The car is up for auction at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale on January 18.

This is the first of three replicas built by Modena Design and Development for the movie. These were used for the fast driving shots in the film. For close-ups, a real 250 GT was used.

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

One of the cars was destroyed while filming, while the third wasn’t actually finished in time to be used. This one has just underdone a full body-off restoration back at Modena Design and Development.

It looks as almost beautiful as an original Ferrari. However, there are some aspects of Ferrari ownership that this replica can’t deliver.

Turn the key, for instance, and you won’t be met with the chatter of a classic Columbo Ferrari V12. Instead, a 7.0-litre four-barrel-carburettor V8 will burble into life. Somewhat incongruous with the delectable Italian lines, but then they’re not really Italian are they?

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

Of course, the car’s provenance as a movie star adds an appeal that no real 250 has. Well, apart from the one they used for static shots in the film.

As for what the car will sell for – it’s anyone’s guess. Real 250s approach eight figures and beyond. Replica number three, not used in the film, came up for sale two years ago and made just over £300,000.

Having had actual screen-time in the film, this one is likely to go for considerably more.

Chris Harris has new Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

Top Gear’s Chris Harris now has a VERY yellow Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

Chris Harris has new Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

Automotive journalist and star of the BBC’s Top Gear TV show Chris Harris has announced the arrival of the latest car to join his collection. 

The bright yellow Porsche 911 GT3 Touring appeared on Instagram and Twitter, generating plenty of attention from Top Gear fans and Porsche enthusiasts.

Harris was also quick to mention that he has a history with the 911 Touring, following an accident in a similar car in November 2018.

Whilst working on a feature for Top Gear Magazine, Harris was involved in a collision described as “unavoidable” in his own black 911 GT3 Touring. 

Driving through Monmouthshire, Harris came around a blind bend to find a pickup truck performing a three-point turn. The collision was inevitable, with Harris and his passenger fortunate not to be injured in the crash. 

The dramatic event seemingly did nothing to dent Harris’ enthusiasm for the 500 hp Porsche. The Top Gear man has been left wondering what to replace that original £111,000 GT3 Touring with for almost a year. 

Chris Harris has new Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

Introduced as a subtler version of the bewinged 991.2 911 GT3, the Touring model uses a smaller pop-up rear spoiler to generate rear downforce. All other components remain the same, with a 4.0-litre flat-six engine driving the rear wheels only. 

Porsche only allowed the Touring model to be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission, making it similar to the limited-edition 911 R introduced previously. 

Finished in Signal Yellow, with silver 20-inch alloy wheels, Harris’ new GT3 Touring is, to our eyes, a superb specification for the car. Chris was also keen to answer questions from various commenters about the lack of a front number plate. 

Harris already has an extensive and eclectic collection of cars, ranging from a Citroen 2CV to a ‘homemade’ BMW E34 M5 Touring. Other Harris garage highlights include a Peugeot 205 Rallye, a Range Rover Classic, and a Ferrari 512. 

Last year also saw Chris sell his 505 hp Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, with the winning bidder getting the chance to meet Harris and take the car on track with him.

Buying the bright yellow GT3 Touring is perhaps a way for Chris to celebrate the return of Top Gear to TV screens later this month. Sunday 26th January will see the latest series start broadcasting on BBC Two. 

BMW is 2019 best-selling global premium brand

BMW stakes claim as 2019’s best-selling premium brand

BMW is 2019 best-selling global premium brand

Growth in worldwide sales for the BMW Group during 2019 helped secure it the position as the best-selling premium car brand.

With total sales from the various BMW Group brands topping more than 2.5 million vehicles for the year, this represented an overall increase of 1.2 percent compared to 2018.

A strategy of offering increasing choice to customers, a move called the “power of choice” by BMW, saw a particular focus being paid to SUV models.  

More BMW SUVs, more performance models 

BMW is 2019 best-selling global premium brand

Cars and SUVs wearing the BMW badge were the biggest sellers overall, with a grand total of 2,168,516 new vehicles sold during 2019. This represented a 2.0 percent increase when compared to sales the previous year. 

BMW’s X-range of SUVs saw substantial growth, with 21 percent more of them sold during 2019. Across the world, 958,732 high-riding BMW models found themselves in the hands of new owners.

Performance models were also in demand, with 135,826 M-badged models being sold. This is the best-ever sales results in the nearly five decades of M products being sold, and demonstrated a hefty 33.2 percent increase compared to the year before. 

Growing demand for luxury

BMW is 2019 best-selling global premium brand

BMW also noted that the range-topping 7 Series, 8 Series, and brand-new X7 contributed to a gigantic 66 percent increase in sales of luxury models. A total of 105,331 new vehicles were sold in this category, and works towards BMW’s plan to double luxury sales between 2018 and 2020.

Rolls-Royce also saw unprecedented sales and growth, with particular success attributed to the brand-new and controversial Cullinan off-roader. The company sold more cars than ever before in its 116-year history, delivering 5,152 of them during 2019 for a 25.4 percent increase. 

Buyers of Rolls-Royce models also showed an increased interest in bespoke custom cars, taking advantage of the numerous options to add a personal touch to their new vehicle. 

Mini sales shrink, electric charging up

BMW is 2019 best-selling global premium brand

The only brand in the BMW Group not to show a sales growth, instead reporting a 4.1 percent decrease in 2019, was Mini. Whilst hot John Cooper Works models were still in demand, a total of 346,639 Mini models were delivered last year. 

Mini is pitching hopes on electric and plug-in hybrid models for the future. More than 90,000 potential customers registered their interest in the battery-powered Mini Electric, which went on sale late in 2019. 

Overall, the BMW Group delivered 145,818 electrified models during 2019, representing a 2.1 percent increase against 2018. BMW’s electric i brand saw improved sales, with the i3 and outgoing i8 selling 12.1 percent more units than the year before. 

BMW tops the table for premium German brands

BMW is 2019 best-selling global premium brand

The BMW Group’s total sales of 2.52 million cars and SUVs in 2019 does place it comfortably clear of its two biggest German rivals. 

Audi did show an increased growth of 1.8 percent in 2019, delivering 1.85 million cars and setting a new sales record for the company in North America. 

Mercedes-Benz, when including cars sold under the Smart brand, ran BMW closer by delivering 2.46 million vehicles last year. Growth was lower, demonstrating only a 0.7 percent increase against 2018, and hurt by a 9.3 percent fall in Smart sales.