German carmaker BMW Group's sales in China increased by 7.4 percent year-on-year in 2020, with 777,379 BMW and MINI brand vehicles delivered last year, the company announced on Tuesday.
"This is the BMW Group's best-ever annual sales result in China since entering the market in 1994," the carmaker noted. Of the total 2.3 million BMW and Mini vehicles sold last year, almost one in three were sold in China.
"China's nationwide concerted efforts and strong resilience in both successfully fighting against COVID-19 as well as in boosting economic recovery in 2020 have delivered tremendous results," said Jochen Goller, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of BMW Group Region China in a statement.
For 2020, BMW Group sales, including the luxury car brand Rolls Royce, declined by 8.4 percent year-on-year. Sales in the fourth quarter, however, were up 3.2 percent year-on-year.
"We succeeded in concluding the year with a strong fourth quarter and once again we lead the premium segment worldwide," said Pieter Nota, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for customer, brands and sales.
BMW's business in Europe was marked by retail restrictions as total BMW and MINI sales last year declined by 15.7 percent year-on-year to 912,621 units. Sales in the United States even fell by 18 percent to 306,870 units last year.
Despite lower overall sales, plug-in hybrid vehicles increased 38.9 percent year-on-year, "reflecting strong customer interest in this drive train variant," BMW noted. In China, the German carmaker had market share of more than 50 percent in the premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) segment.
China's "extraordinary economic resilience combined with an upgrading trend in consumption and a leading position in electrification and digitalization are manifesting our confidence for the positive long-term development of the Chinese market," said Goller.
Last week, German carmaker Daimler announced that its core brand Mercedes-Benz set a new sales record in China last year with 774,382 passenger cars, achieving double-digit growth of 11.7 percent.