Royal dig-out a boost for BMW
Royal and presidential cavalcades comprised vehicles offered free for the occasion by the Bayerische Motoren Werke, writes Campbell Spray
AS THE after-glow from the Royal and presidential visits still warms our little noggins, one car importer is basking even more serenely. In the first four months of the year, BMW had sales nearly equal to the total for last year. Now after the exposure in the big visit cavalcades as the car of choice for dignitaries, aides and security details, BMW has made a stake for even more of the corporate car park.
The company in Ireland offered a total of nearly 30 Beemers free to the government, which included seven large 7-Series saloons, two X5 SUVs and 20 additional smaller cars. Some were specially built high-protection security cars with armour plating, anti-gas ventilation systems and other features. Most came from abroad, and they were given special 11D number plates for the duration of the visit. The protection transport fleet has now returned to Britain. The cars and maintenance personnel had to go through very heavy security vetting. While the worldwide exposure was great kudos for the brand and its executive line up, the company is trying to prove that it is rightly much more than a supplier of prestige saloons. Its range of convertibles goes from the beautiful 6-Series down to the nifty 1-series soft-top. However, no-one can underestimate the debt the company owes to its new 5-Series saloon, which is its best offering yet. Some 56 per cent of its total sales are just one model, the super-efficient 520D. The Munich company has enormous success with developing its diesel engines and patented EfficientDynamics technologies, so that now 98 per cent of all its sales this year in Ireland are oil-burners, and 87 per cent of total sales are in the A and B bands for VRT and Road Tax. However, the BMW owners are not noted for their exciting colour appreciation: nearly 60 per cent of cars sold this year have been black or grey.
However, with 3.8 per cent of the overall market, there is a healthy glow on BMW executives' cheeks, especially as summer last year was very good to the brand as many corporate fleets went back into the market.
On the influential visits, BMW Ireland MD John Ives was ebullient. He said, "We wanted to make a contribution during these historic visits in Ireland and offered a range of high protection and security vehicles for the duration. It was great to see BMW product centre-stage at such high profile events,"
John added, "Every journey made by road was supported by the fleet. The cars performed flawlessly and we received great feedback from the authorities here."
So if you thought the country had lost the run of itself in buying a brand new fleet of executive cars, you know that ultimately it was just a handout from the Germans. Prosit!