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Carmakers report mixed global sales

THERE was mixed news from the automotive sector yesterday, as carmakers BMW and Toyota reported massive losses for the previous quarter, but Toyota&rsquo;s Lexus brand and Daimler&rsquo;s Mercedes-Benz published their highest US sales so far this year.<br /><br />Germany&rsquo;s BMW said it remained pessimistic about recent signs of a lasting economic recovery, and reported a slump in year-on-year&nbsp; profits to &euro;121m (&pound;103m) for the April-June quarter. The group added that its car sales were down by almost a fifth. <br /><br />The automaker said it had sold 338,190 cars under the BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce marques during the second quarter, down 18.1 per cent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, separate figures showed that new car sales in Germany went up by 30 per cent last month, compared with the previous year. <br /><br />The German VDA automobile federation said yesterday that 340,000 new vehicles were registered in July. So far this year, German car dealers have sold 2.4m vehicles, up 27 per cent from the first seven months of 2008. It comes after a popular scrappage scheme was introduced.<br /><br />In Asia, the world&rsquo;s biggest carmaker Toyota said a slump in worldwide sales had led to a 77.8bn yen (&pound;483m) loss. Revenues at the company were down by 38 per cent year-on-year to 3.8 trillion yen.<br /><br />Sales of Toyota cars in the US have fallen by almost half, the company said. But Toyota&rsquo;s Lexus model and Daimler&rsquo;s Mercedes-Benz brand posted their highest US sales for the year in July, in an indication that the slump in car sales &ndash; even those classed as luxury brands &ndash; is starting to ease.<br /><br />The US has introduced its own &ldquo;cash-for-clunkers&rdquo; incentive plan, which is already boosting sales of cars on the other side of the Atlantic.<br /><br />Lexus deliveries dropped just 17 per cent to 18,517 vehicles year-on-year, while sales of Mercedes-Benz autos were down 22 per cent to 16,228 units.