BMW posts sharp Q1 profits surge, exceeding forecasts

09:58, May 06, 2010      

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BMW, the world's leading luxury car maker, posted Wednesday "sharp growth" in first-quarter profits, erasing its loss a year earlier amid a pick-up in global sales of high-end automobiles.

BMW reported a net profit of 324 million euros ($420 million), and upgraded its full-year outlook, compared to a net loss of 152 million euros ($197 million) the same period in 2009.

The net profit figure exceeded the forecast 247 million euros ($320 million) compiled by Dow Jones Newswires, but sales were slightly below their outlook of 12.6 billion euros ($16 billion).

BMW's results were boosted by strong sales of the company's new 5 Series and its new X1 sports utility vehicle.

Some 315,614 vehicles were delivered, an increase of 13.8 percent, highlighted by a 54 percent surge in sales of the 7 Series, which shares 70 percent of its parts with the revamped version of the cheaper 5 Series.

Most regions around the world reported higher sales, with Asia posting a jump of 55.7 percent and North America gaining 9.2 percent.

"China and stronger upscale-segment pricing developments have started the German auto year well," John Lawson, a London-based analyst at Citibank, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. "BMW may be the cheapest of the German auto stocks."

The company statement termed the launch of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost "extremely successful."

For all of 2010, chairman Norbert Reithofer said the group was "aiming to achieve significantly higher group earnings" than in 2009, an improvement from the previous outlook for "notable" growth.

"We increased earnings significantly in the first quarter and are now back on a growth course on almost all car markets," Reithofer said in a statement. "We expect that earnings will grow dynamically over the course of the year."

The company plans to sell more than 1.3 million cars this year to remain ahead of rivals in the premium car segment, while Volkswagen's Audi has set a goal of dethroning BMW by 2015, and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz plans to grow at twice the industry average in 2010, Bloomberg said.

Source: Global Times
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