The BMW M2 is expected to substantially grow the volume of the M performance brand locally, with wait times for the high-end performance coupe already pushing towards the end of the year.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new BMW M2 at Targa Tasmania this week, BMW Australia CEO Mark Werner said that being able to plug the hole in the M model line-up with the M2, will provide considerable growth.
“The BMW M2 will certainly help us to be present in a segment where previously we did not have a pure M offer, if you take aside the M performance vehicle, so the M2 will certainly help us to conquer new customers on one side and also help us on other side to substantially grow our BMW M volume,” Werner said.
In 2015 BMW managed to sell just over 1000 M cars in Australia - its best record to date. Even so, with cars like the M2 – which has a volume restriction of around 300 units for 2016 – the M brand as a whole is expected to grow, as the smaller M car brings in buyers that may end up finding themselves in an M3 or M4 instead.
That may explain why local product and market planning head, Shawn Ticehurst, believes the M3/4 will still outsell the M2 due to volume restrictions.
“We think the M3 and M4 combined will still be our biggest selling M models,” Ticehurst told CarAdvice.
“This one [the M2] is restricted to a degree with supply. We know this year we are still pushing to get more than 300 units, we know there is more market potential for it, but the whole world wants more M2s at the moment… We are constantly asking Munich for more cars.”
With M2 wait times out to six months or more, what appears to be happening, for those that can’t wait, is an increase in sales of the M3 and M4, which on their own nearly doubled sales in 2015.
“What we are finding at the moment because of the wait time of the M2, some customers are going up to an M3 or M4 because they want a car sooner,” Ticehurst said.
The local executive said the price gap of over $50,000 between the cheapest M2 and M3 appears to be a non-issue for most.
“That’s the thing with Australian buyers at the moment, they've got the money, they buy what they want.”
Interestingly, BMW Australia is the second-largest market in the world for M cars, in terms of percentage of total sales, with around four to five per cent of all BMWs sold locally wearing an M badge. This helps negotiations for more M cars from Germany, Ticehurst admitted.
Even so, the pure M offerings will stop at the entry end of the scale with the M2, with BMW having positioned the M135i and M235i as its two lower-level offerings on the logical step to M car ownership.
“It’s too early to say [if we will change variant names to M340i and M435i]," Werner said.
As far as customers for the BMW M2 go, BMW says the majority are new to M ownership, though, existing M owners have also put their hands up. Customers ordering an M2 now, will have to wait untill the fourth quarter for delivery.