On Feb. 2, BMW (BAMXF 2.64%) reported record-breaking January sales. What's more, this comes after BMW's record-breaking sales for 2013. So, with such a strong start, will 2014 be another banner year for BMW?
January's sky-high sales
In January, BMW sold 117,164 brand vehicles, up 9.2% over the previous year. Further, this growth was the result of strong sales for BMW's 3 Series -- up 4.6%, X3 -- up 18.2%, and 5 Series -- up 14%. In other words, BMW has a strong offering, which is good news for long-term investors.
Moreover, in China -- one of the most important markets for luxury car sales -- BMW's deliveries were up 22.2% compared with the previous year, and sales in the USA increased 3% (although this also includes BMW's MINI brand). Clearly, BMW's 2014 sales are starting out with a bang.
A look ahead
BMW has a number of things going for it, including strong sales in one of the fastest-growing luxury-car markets. Plus, Ian Robertson, member of the board of management of BMW AG, sales and marketing BMW, stated: "Looking ahead, although the economic climate remains challenging in many markets, there are signs of improvement and we are aiming for continued growth in 2014. We are launching some very exciting new models over the next few months and our target is to increase overall global sales for a fourth successive year."
There are some things to watch out for, though. First, while China presents significant opportunities for vehicle sales, it isn't without its risks. For example, in early 2013, Chinese state media blasted foreign brands for quality problems, and also in 2013, BMW's request to double production capacity to 400,000 sedans a year, and expand an affiliated engine plant, came under fire from China's environment ministry -- this may or may not have been warranted.
Moreover, in 2013, Daimler's (MBGA.F 0.37%) Mercedes-Benz released its all-new CLA, which helped Mercedes win the title of best-selling luxury brand in the U.S for 2013 -- a title that BMW was none too thrilled to give up -- and for 2014, this could also present a problem, as sales of the CLA don't show signs of slowing. In addition, Mercedes is scheduled to release its less expensive SUV, the GLA (however, it won't arrive in the U.S until fall 2014), which could also prove to be a winning vehicle for Mercedes, and steal sales from BMW .
So far, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for BMW. However, it's still pretty early in the game, which makes it too early to predict if this will be another record-breaking year for the company. With that being said, BMW's future looks solid, and even if it doesn't break records this year, it could still merit a closer look if you're looking for your next great auto stock investment.