BMW says its New Zealand sales performance outstripped that of any other market in its first quarter of the current financial year.
The car company finished the quarter with sales up 20.4 per cent on the same period of 2020 and attributes its record sales down to baby boomers dropping their cash on a luxury car in lieu of an overseas following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the last quarter BMW has grown its new registrations by 23 per cent while registrations for its Mini Cooper brand have grown 14.7 per cent.
The local boost in sales has contributed to a record first quarter for BMW globally.
Karol Abrasowicz-Madej, managing director of BMW New Zealand, told the Herald house sales were not the only barometer of how the economy was faring after last year's Covid-19 disruptions, and that the NZ market was now outperforming the global BMW average.
BMW operates 10 BMW and six Mini partnership dealerships across the country.
Madej said the company had, like most luxury car manufacturers, been "capitalising on the free cash that was still on the market coming from a lack of travel" as borders largely remained closed to all international travel bar Australia and the Cook Islands as of late.
"Last year there was $5.9 billion that was unspent on international travel, which means that there has been spend on the investments such as house refurbishments, jewellery and premium and luxury products," he said.
"This year I would say cars are in focus. Baby boomers, we believe that they are changing their habits and refreshing their product portfolio."
Six in every 10 vehicles the company sold over the past 12 months were SUVs, with the BMW X5 its best-selling model, followed by its X3. The average price per transaction was over $100,000.
Its sales of electric vehicles have also been on the rise in recent months.
BMW believes sales of its electric models would have doubled by the end of 2025, and grow to make up approximately 30 per cent of all vehicles sold by 2030.
While its recent sales performance had been impressive, Madej said BMW was wary of the months ahead as disruption to the international supply chain looked to continue. That said, the company was hopeful it would reach new highs.
"We are remaining cautiously optimistic, and assuming we are going to progress at the speed we do and the market will remain as hungry as it is, we may have one of the record, if not the record, year in 2021."
Almost 700 new BMWs have been registered so far this year, compared with 440 in the same four months of 2020, according to data sourced from the Motor Industry Association (MIA).
MIA data shows hundreds of luxury cars were registered for the first time in April. This included 157 BMWs, 10 Alfa Romeos, five Aston Martins, five Bentleys, five Ferraris, three Lamborghini, eight Maseratis, 73 Jaguars, 131 Audis and 163 Mercedes-Benz.
April was the strongest April on record for new vehicle registrations. Registrations surpassed 13,100 compared to just 1039 in April 2020, during the nationwide lockdown.
Year to date, the market is up 62 per cent or by 21,140 registrations compared with the first quarter of 2020.