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BMW Earnings Accelerate – But Maker Warns China Could Put on the Brakes

by on Nov.03, 2015

On track: BMW expects models like the new 7-Series to continue boosting its sales.

BMW delivered a 20% surge in third-quarter earnings, but the maker cautioned that a slowdown in the Chinese market could put the brakes on its bottom line in the months ahead.

The Bavarian maker has enjoyed a global surge in demand for its luxury products – while also benefiting from the addition of a number of new models, analyst said.  Demand has benefitted from both the U.S. automotive rebound as well as growing sales in China, which is generally expected to become the world’s largest luxury car market. But how soon is now uncertain.

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“We continue to chart a course of profitable growth, with reported figures continuing their upward trend in the first nine months of the year”, said BMW Chairman Harald Krüger, in a prepared statement

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BMW Profits Fall as China Auto Sales Soften

Luxury marque hit by weakening market.

by on Aug.04, 2015

BMW's quarterly earnings took a hit as auto sales in China have slowed.

BMW AG, which had enjoyed rapid growth in China in recent years, demonstrated the potential down side of its Chinese partnerships as earnings dropped during the April to June quarter as the Chinese automotive market began to weaken.

“There have been increasing signs of more moderate growth in the Chinese auto market for several months now,” noted Friedrich Eichiner, BMW’s finance chief.

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“The market is normalizing faster than originally forecast. The second quarter saw increased competition across the industry – while the volatility of the Chinese stock market has also weakened consumer confidence,” he said. (more…)

China’s Lack of Brand Loyalty Helping German Automakers

Study shows buyers looking to upgrade plan to buy German cars.

by on Sep.18, 2014

Buyers in China looking for a luxury brand lean toward German makers, such as BMW.

Chinese consumers are proving as fickle as their counterparts in the United States, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, and that may be good news for German car brands there.

Roughly 40% of the owners of cars from Chinese makers planning to trade their vehicle for a global or “foreign” brand said they intend to buy a Volkswagen model. Nearly 90% of foreign volume-brand owners who are trading up said they are likely to buy an Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, according to the group, known as BCG.

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China remains the world’s largest automobile market with sales expected to top 21 million units this year, dwarfing sales in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan, the industry’s traditional key markets. (more…)

Daimler Redoubling Efforts to Make up Lost Ground in China

German maker spending $2.7 billion to catch rivals.

by on Aug.29, 2013

Daimler's China chief, Hubertus Troska, recently laid out the company's plans to grow sales in China.

Daimler AG, in a bold effort to catch its German rivals Audi and BMW, plans to sink $2.7 billion in China, starting with a new plant.

The plant is scheduled for completion as early as 2014 and will help Daimler double China production to more than 200,000 units a year, according to Hubertus Troska, who was appointed last fall to reorganize the company’s China operations. Since then, he merged the company’s two distribution arms in China and set up a support unit to coordinate marketing, sales and training initiatives in the country.

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China is set to become Daimler’s largest market as soon as 2015, Troska said. (more…)

China Set to Become BMW’s Top Market this Year

Will surpass U.S. as China becomes world’s largest luxury car market.

by on Jul.12, 2013

China is set to become BMW's top market this year.

By most accounts, China is expected to become the world’s largest market for luxury cars before the end of the decade. But BMW is apparently in a rush there and expects the booming Asian nation to overtake the U.S. as its lead market by the end of 2013.

Locked in a three-way global battle with German competitors Mercedes-Benz and Audi, all three have been pushing hard to win over the growing number of affluent Chinese motorists, and BMW’s gains have so far this year run well ahead of the overall growth of the Asian market, driven by the arrival of new products such as the latest-generation 5-Series.

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As a result, Chinese sales already exceeded demand in the U.S. for the first half of 2013, noted Karsten Engel, who oversees BMW’s China operations, and should maintain that lead for the rest of the year.

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China Soon to Be World’s Top Luxury Car Market

Sales of premium models expected to double by 2020.

by on Jun.04, 2013

The new Cadillac XTS gets a splashy launch during China's annual auto show.

It would be tempting to say that James Wang is living the American dream – if it weren’t for the fact that he’s living in Beijing.

The mild-mannered 27-year-old is a self-made mega-millionaire, earning his money building golf courses for the country’s fast-growing leisure class. And like so many of his American counterparts, the young entrepreneur is addicted to automobiles, with a fleet of vehicles ranging from a Subaru WRX STi to a Porsche 911 and even a Maybach M62 in his garage.

While Wang may have a slightly larger personal fleet than most Chinese motorists he’s far from unusual in his taste for premium automobiles.  Luxury cars today fill the streets of many booming Chinese cities, notes Fu Qiang, president and CEO of Volvo Cars China, noting that “All the forecasts call for China to become the world’s largest premium market by 2016.”

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The country is already the largest national automotive market in the world, pushing past the U.S. several years ago. And Chinese industry groups have estimated overall annual demand could surge to 38 million in little more than a decade, exceeding sales in the U.S. and the European Union combined.

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Mercedes Increasingly Desperate to Reverse Losses in China

Share slips as Audi, BMW come on strong.

by on Apr.10, 2013

The Mercedes CLA Concept debuting in Beijing last year. The production version could be critical for the maker's revival in the Chinese market.

Mercedes-Benz continues to lose ground in China’s booming premium car market to arch-rivals BMW and Audi — but Daimler AG’s top executive, Dieter Zetsche, told the company’s shareholders meeting the automaker is confident it can make up the ground it has lost in recent months.

Mercedes’ slide has been both acute and unexpected and the maker has struggled even after slashing prices on key models such as the flagship S-Class sedan. That’s particularly worrisome since many analysts expect China will soon become the world’s largest market for luxury vehicles, surging past the U.S.

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Zetsche admitted to shareholders that Daimler management is keenly aware it has failed to keep pace with the growth in China. “Our sales had increased rapidly for five years in a row. During that period we posted the strongest average growth of all the premium brands there. Last year, our business expanded only slightly and we lost market share. We have to change this situation and we will.”

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BMW Launching New Brand in China

But Zhi Nuo brand might eventually go global.

by on Apr.08, 2013

According to some reports, BMW may use the X1 as its first product for the new Zhi Nuo brand.

BMW is the latest global automaker to announce plans to create a special sub-brand for the Chinese market – but the German luxury giant is also eyeing its start-up as a possible source of exports.

We should hear more about the new Zhi Nuo brand at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month. BMW and its Chinese partner Brilliance Automotive are expected to introduced their first new model there, a version of the old 3-Series.

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Since the Chinese automotive market began opening up a dozen years ago, it has been flooded by a Who’s-Who of foreign manufacturers. In turn, domestic makers have struggled to hang on, most of the successful ones by entering into joint ventures required by law of global manufacturers.  But under pressure from the government, these JV operations have begun creating special local brands of their own.

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(Almost) Official First Shots of BMW X4

Images leak ahead of Shanghai Auto Show debut.

by on Apr.04, 2013

One of a handful of BMW X4 images that have leaked out ahead of the official Shanghai debut.

BMW seems to be averse to leaving open any white space – or alphanumeric combinations – it seems, with all manner of new product filling in the gaps.

And so, with the replacement for the 3-Series Coupe and Convertible being rebadged the new 4-Series, the German maker had to come up with the coupe/crossover X4, as well. Long expected to debut later this month at Auto China 2013 in Shanghai, these images we found leaking out across the web appear to be the real thing – just a little earlier than BMW had apparently planned.

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The downsized version of the familiar X6 maintains the controversial, coupe-like roofline of the larger Sports Activity Vehicle but shares the same basic mechanicals as the smaller BMW X3.  The front and rear also adopt some of the basic design cues of the latest-generation 3-Series sedan, though there’s a fair bit more chrome here, tweaking out the distinctive new bumpers.

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BMW Earnings Up 14% Despite European Slump

But CEO warns of “headwinds” ahead.

by on Nov.07, 2012

BMW CEO Reithofer sees growing trouble ahead as the European market continues to struggle.

Despite the weakening European economy, BMW AG posted another strong quarter, with earnings up 14% but expected to slow in the months ahead.

The world’s largest premium automaker said its earnings before interest and taxes came to 2 billion Euros, or $2.6 billion, between July and September, led by growth in the U.S. and China as well as by the strong performance of its lending subsidiary. That was well ahead of the 1.74 billion Euros consensus from industry analysts. Net income was up 16%, to 1.29 billion Euros.

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Nonetheless, Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer warned that conditions were weakening across its home markets in Europe and could offset gains in other markets.

“Like the rest of the sector, we are now beginning to feel some headwind,” he said in a statement. “We have to acknowledge that we are all facing dramatic challenges and uncertainties in the global economy today.”

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