BMW OUTSHONE its rivals with a sharp increase in first-quarter sales yesterday, fuelled by demand for the German group’s cars from customers in China and the United States.
BMW’s sales in China jumped 72 per cent in the first-quarter as a growing army of super-rich in the country fuels demand for luxury cars, especially its 5 series saloon and the four-wheel drive X3 (pictured below). US sales were up by around a fifth.
China now accounts for about 15 per cent of the group’s car sales, up from about 12 per cent a year ago, and is hot on the heels of the United States and Germany, BMW’s two biggest markets. BMW, which also owns the Rolls-Royce and Mini brands, said yesterday first-quarter operating profit rose more than fourfold to €1.9bn (£1.71bn), exceeding the average analyst estimate of €1.51bn.
BMW’s strong results echo those of Volkswagen and Daimler, whose growth was also driven by demand for cars in emerging markets such as China.
While BMW rode the same wave as its peers in China, its auto business proved more profitable. Operating profit margin at BMW’s automobiles business widened to 11.9 per cent, ahead of 9.8 per cent at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars and 10.6 per cent at Volkswagen’s Audi.
BMW’s 5-series (left) and X3
City A.M. Reporter