That’s not such a far-fetched choice.
“We chose Russia to highlight the new 7 Series because this is a country that truly appreciates luxury cars,” said Ian Robertson, member of the BMW AG board of management in charge of sales and marketing, in prepared remarks.
First, everybody knows by now that prosperous Russians who have embraced capitalism and its benefits have really, really embraced capitalism and its benefits. German luxury cars are high on that list. The same can be said of wealthy car buyers in the People’s Republic of China.
Second, all-wheel drive — which BMW calls xDrive — is one of the most popular features on the BMW 7 Series in the country, “something customers in Russia truly appreciate,” Robertson said. He said more than 70 percent of Russian 7 Series buyers order xDrive.
The 2013 7 Series got some exterior changes including new LED headlights, and a more thorough update for the interior. Interior changes include a quieter cabin and electronic features like a new navigation system. The new infotainment system also offers internet connectivity, the company said.
Year to date through July, BMW sales in Russia were just over 20,000, a 31 percent increase over the same period a year ago, the company said. In the United States, sales for the BMW brand were around 150,000 after seven months, up about 9 percent, according to AutoData Corp.
Worldwide, BMW Group deliveries were up about 8 percent year to date to more than 1 million, a record for the seven-month period, the company said.
Robertson said BMW’s “X” models of crossover SUVs, like the BMW X6, make up more than half of the company’s Russian sales volume.
In the United States, BMW cars outsell its crossover trucks by more than 3-to-1, AutoData said.
All-wheel-drive is an increasingly popular feature for luxury cars, and not just for trucks. In the United States, rival Mercedes-Benz also sells a high mix of all-wheel-drive cars and trucks. Mercedes-Benz calls its all-wheel-drive system 4Matic.
By Jim Henry