Many have pinned Tesla’s Model 3 to be an important competitor to the BMW 3 Series and the vehicle is already being quite disruptive in the segment.
Now BMW itself admits this as it reports its U.S. sales.
Bernhard Kuhnt, chief executive officer of BMW North America, said in an interview yesterday (via Bloomberg):
“Tesla is now ramping up their volumes, and it’s putting pressure on that market segment. In that environment, I’m very, very pleased to say we were up.”
BMW’s sales of midsize sedans have been down in the US this year, but the German automaker’s overall sales were slightly up last month in the country, which is what Kuhnt is referring to.
Both Mercedes-Benx and Lexus saw a significant drop in sales during the same period.
On the other hand, Tesla saw an important increase in sales in the U.S. – mainly thanks to its ramp-up of Model 3 production and the fact that the automaker is concentrating deliveries only in the U.S. and Canada.
Earlier this week, Tesla confirmed a production of about 53,000 Model 3s and it delivered even more.
BMW’s 3 Series is seen as one of the biggest losers in the rise of the Model 3. Last quarter, Tesla reported that BMW’s popular sedan was listed in the top 5 cars Model 3 buyers are trading in.
It’s now the first time that BMW admitted that Tesla is pressuring them.
It’s their own fault. BMW doesn’t have any good reason to not have an all-electric vehicle competing in the segment other than it would cannibalize its own sales, but I’d argue that it is not a good reason.
Instead, they plan to compete in that segment with an electric option in 2021.
Last year, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, casted doubts on Tesla’s ability to produce Model 3 in volume at $35,000 and in the process, he said that the iNext will be the real competitor in the same segment.
As it turned out, the iNext is actually more of a crossover than a sedan based on the early concept version they unveiled earlier this year.
But either way, it’s good that they are at least recognizing that Tesla’s electric push is putting pressure on them. I think that the German automaker is making some progress with its 5th generation electric powertrain, but we will have to wait at least another year before it makes it to market in the iX3.
In the meantime, Tesla will just keep killing it.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.