Monday 27 May 2019

BMW unleashes price blitz to battle effect of imports and tougher emissions regime

  • Average cut across range is €3,296

  • New 3 Series down €2,450

  • New X5 cut by €6,060

  • MINI drops €850

BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series
BMW 5 series
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

BMW has unleashed a price-cut blitz in an attempt to counter the effects of surging second-hand imports and the impact on prices of the tougher new emissions test regime.

The company has cut an average of €3,296 (5.1pc) off its new-car prices across the BMW and BMW i (electric) ranges.

It is also bringing down the price of a new MINI by an average of 3.9pc, or around €850.

The managing director of the BMW Group in Ireland, Paulo Alves, indicated that the reason behind the price cuts was to encourage people to buy new Irish cars rather than used imports.

He said the pricing strategy was designed to make it "more compelling for customers to stay in BMW's Irish network and offset currency fluctuations".

He pointed out that the cuts were coming at a time when the motor industry is facing increasing car prices due to the tougher new emissions tests.

The WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) is tending to register higher CO2 results under more real-world assessments.

That is leading to a relatively high proportion of cars falling into higher road-tax and VRT bands.

Mr Alves said that all BMW and MINI models sold in Ireland have been fully compliant with the new test regime for some time. It has been in force since September 1.

When asked by Motors, the company insisted all BMW models remained unchanged in terms of spec and equipment.

The latest twist to the tale of the Irish market echoes a previous attempt by BMW to battle UK imports where it matters - on price. Key rival Mercedes has also deployed a price-reduction strategy for some time too.

It is a reflection of how used imports are eating into new car sales here and how concerned executives are at the burgeoning numbers coming in. Experts are forecasting that as many as 100,000 used imports will be registered here for 2018.

The new BMW drive is also, obviously, a major play for market share and a signal of intent for an intense 191-reg campaign from January 1.

The company is expected to reveal details of its campaign on Monday.

Examples of the reductions include a €2,450 cut in the price of the new 3 Series saloon 318i Sport from €43,610 to €41,160; the new 5 Series saloon 520d SE auto is down €2,390 to €51,180; the X3 xDrive20d Auto is down €2,590 to €55,230, and the new X5 xDrive 30d xLine Auto from €6,060 to €87,390.

The MINI 3dr hatch 1.5-litre Cooper Classic, meanwhile, is down €1,050 to €24,905.

First deliveries of the new 3 Series are expected in March. The new X5 debuts here on December 1 and the new 8 Series Coupe is due next month. Like the 3 Series, the new Z4 open-top two-seater is also scheduled for March arrival.

Meanwhile, MINI has simplified its range with three styles for each model; Classic, Sport and Exclusive. They are also introducing two optional packs called Comfort and Comfort Plus.

Prices do not include delivery or related charges.

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