With car sales plummeting in 2008 (and likely to be worse in 2009) there aren’t many bright spots around. But performance saloons are certainly one of them.
As we reported back in December, BMW’s M Division had a cracking year, with sales of nearly 27,000 for the year. In fact, they did so well that they broke 2007’s sales by the end of August. But BMW aren’t the only ones to pull off this party trick. Mercedes AMG has done the same.
The AMG Division of Mercedes has reported sales of 24,200 for 2008, an increase of 19% on 2007. Sales of AMG Sports Packs was even more impressive – up a huge 73%
Much of BMW and AMG’s success comes down to one model. In the case of BMW it’s the M3, and for Mercedes it’s the C63. For BMW, the M3 accounted for almost 70% of M Car sales, and for Mercedes the C63 racked up sales of over 8,000, accounting for 1/3rd of all AMG sales. Which does indicate that the Mercedes AMG appeal is broader based than BMWs.
These figures are being heralded as a sign that people’s aspirations to have the best car in the range are undimmed by the economic problems besieging the world at the moment. But as we said when we reported on BMW’s M sales in December, we don’t think that’s the case. We think it’s more a case of people trading down to AMG and M Cars from something more exotic. Being prepared to give up a real prestige marque in difficult times is one thing. But losing the performance and handling you’re used to is a step too far.
So what better way to go than get one of these high-performance saloons? Not only is it down-traders, but also down-sizers. The guy with the fun 2 seater for the weekend and the saloon for business, can trade down to one car and still get performance fun when he wants it and the practicality when he has clients to take to dinner.
But whatever the reasons, it’s good to see cars like this selling well.