BMW has seen good start to business in 2011 – CEO

Monday, 21 March 2011 00:35 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: BMW’s Chief Executive is satisfied with business so far this year, he told an Italian newspaper, adding that the world’s largest luxury carmaker aimed to stay independent through partnerships.

“We had a good start (to 2011). We aim at new record sales for all our brands,” Norbert Reithofer told financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore in an article published recently.

He also confirmed the company’s target of selling more than 1.5 million units in 2011. The company last month said January unit sales rose 28 percent year-on-year to 105,177 vehicles, while February unit sales were up 20 percent.

BMW – which is scheduled to publish its 2010 business report on 15 March – is expecting a strong growth impulse from China, where it sees double-digit growth this year, but Reithofer added he looked at India and Brazil as the “next China” for the company.

Growth in Europe, he said, would be modest: “The old continent accounts for around half our sales. We expect it to continue to grow slightly over the next years.”

Regarding BMW’s future, Reithofer said: “Our intention is to remain independent, also over the next 10 years. Through innovation and partnerships focused on parts and engines.”

Carmakers are looking to cooperation to reap synergies from slashing development costs for new technologies, in order to meet tightening emissions legislation and win customers in the face of stiff competition from newer players.

Reithofer mentioned the group’s partnerships with Daimler and Peugeot as examples of their ongoing strategy to reduce costs and pursue innovation.

BMW and Peugeot on Feb. 28 announced they were planning to invest 100 million euros ($140 million) in a hybrid technology joint venture.

With regard to competition from the cooperation of Fiat SpA’s Lancia brand and Chrysler, Reithofer said: “I am not worried.

We are not afraid of anybody, I am telling this to my friend (CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler Group LLC, Sergio) Marchionne as well.”