A Lot of Companies Are Losing Money For Every Car They Sell

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a rather massive monkey wrench into the engine that is the auto industry. It’s been so bad that every time we turn around, we hear about another automaker that’s drastically down on sales. Now, a new study from German website Handelsblatt, paints a crystal clear picture of how automakers are weathering the COVID storm, and I can tell you know, it’s not pretty. In fact, some German brands are really taking up the tailpipe.

Of All the Automakers, BMW is Taking the Worst Hit Per Car Sold

2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe Exterior
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The study in question is more than your typical profit and loss stuff in that it looks at losses or gains on a per-car scale. While this isn’t something that we would usually talk about on Topspeed.com, this is a little unique compared to what we usually see, and that’s why I’m reporting it to you today. The figures put together by Handelsblatt goes to show just how rough some companies are doing at the moment, and it shows that being down or up in sales, doesn’t necessarily mean an automaker is losing or making money off every car it sells.

Brands Like BMW, Mercedes, And Volkswagen Are Hemorrhaging Money Exterior
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Take Volkswagen as an example. The company’s sales are, at the time of this writing, down by 28-percent through 2020. That’s obviously a very bad thing, but the study actually breaks this down to a per-car level, and Volkswagen has actually lost – on average – around €415 (about $490) per car sold in 2020. At the same time, Toyota, which is down in sales by 29-percent so far, is actually making €533 ($628) per car that it has sold. At the same time, BMW is getting railed with a loss of €1,100 (about $1,300) per car that it sells, and Mercedes is getting hit with a loss of €600 (about $700) per car.

It does sound like the Germans are getting it worst than most, and while that may be the case, not all German brands are suffering.

In fact, Porsche is kicking ass, making €10,000 (about $11,800) for every single car that it sells – a damn impressive number, obviously.

Meanwhile, here the States, Tesla of all brands, is doing good too, sucking in a profit of $3,500 (about €3,000) per car.

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
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Of course, to most people, this doesn’t mean a whole lot. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you if your initial response is that Porsche is clearly overpricing its vehicles. But, this does give a unique view into how automakers are doing during such a rough time. For what it’s worth, the person behind the study is Dr. Ferdinand Dudenhoffer – an automotive veteran, professor of business administration, and the found and director for Center Automotive Research at the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany.

Source: Handelsblatt (Subscription required)

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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