We didn’t see that coming.
Japanese small car maker Suzuki have, amazingly, pipped German luxury stalwart BMW to take the top ranking as the most profitable carmaker in the second-quarter of 2018, according to Manager Magazin. The publication cited a study by Ernst & Young that stated that during the second-quarter of the year, Suzuki reaped a 11.8% profit margin on every car sold, which put it a decent way ahead of BMW, which only took back 11.4%.
BMW’s long been the carmaker that’s made the most money per car sold, and this upset by Suzuki definitely a moment of surprise for a lot of industry observers. It’s worth noting that the claim to fame (as it were) is only valid strictly for Q2 2018; If you look at the first-half of this year in its entirety, BMW remains at the top spot.
While Suzuki’s reign could be short-lived, it’s interesting to note the gulf that exists between the Japanese & German contenders: Suzuki specialises in small cars and is dominant in India (with over 50% marketshare), while BMW’s luxury appeal only ever seems to get more and more upmarket. It’d be easy to assume that the luxury segment must be easier to eke a profit from, but Suzuki’s proved that streamlined production, serious volume, and wide appeal has its values.
But while Suzuki made the most money on every car it made in Q2 2018, it was fellow Japanese firm Toyota that took back the most money. BMW’s acceding of the profitability throne will likely last more than just this quarter though, as German marques face “strong headwinds” thanks to currency losses, the unfavourable view of diesels, and even the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. BMW in particular will also be affected by recently-introduced tariffs on steel & aluminium imports into the US from Europe, Mexico and Canada, as BMW’s biggest manufacturing plant in based in Spartanburg, South Carolina.