After more than two decades, BMW has come back to beat arch rival Mercedes-Benz in the Thai market, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Last year the Thai automobile market plunged by over 21 per cent to under 800,000 units due to economic slump stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, while the passenger car market went down by as much as 31 per cent, with 274,789 vehicles sold throughout the year.
In 2020 the manufacturer from Munich sold a total of 11,240 vehicles (4.3 per cent decline) in the Kingdom (plus 1,184 MINI vehicles) compared to 10,613 units (down 29.7 per cent) sold by its Stuttgart-based rival Mercedes-Benz.
BMW was also successful in the high-end motorcycle market in Thailand, selling over 1,220 units.
BMW and Mercedes are the top two luxury car brands in Thailand, together commanding a majority share in the market, leaving other competitors far behind. But it is the latter than has always had the leading market position.
BMW Group Thailand president Alexander Baraka attributed BMW’s Thai success to several factors, including digitalization.
“We have transformed how we think and work. We have digitalized many aspects of customer outreach, and we have figured out ways to build confidence in the brand while also fighting with our hearts and souls despite difficult circumstances,” he said.
“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century challenge for all of us. Nevertheless, in the very same year that we faced this historic situation, we also achieved our most successful milestone and stepped forward as the Number One premium brand in Thailand,” he said, adding that BMW outperformed the passenger car market’s overall performance, which declined by 31 per cent, and at the same time outperformed the overall market in the premium segment with a magnificent 51.2 per cent market share.
Meanwhile, last year the BMW Rayong plant churned out 23,177 automobiles and 8,875 motorcycles. It assembles nine BMW car models and nine motorcycle models for both domestic and export markets.