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BMW logs new record, but drops behind Mercedes

German carmaker BMW has announced more record figures while presenting its earnings report for 2016. But while sales also reached a new high, the Munich-based firm was overtaken by domestic rival Mercedes.

Top-of-the range car manufacturer BMW announced Tuesday it sold a record 2.25 million BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles in 2016.

The company said it was able to increase its profit by 8 percent to 6.9 billion euros ($7.45 billion) last year, marking the seventh straight year of record sales and earnings.

CEO Harald Krüger indicated there was still room for improvement in the current year as the carmaker aimed to achieve even better results not least due to 40 new or modified models, including the luxurious SUV X7.

Tremendous changes ahead

Krüger noted that BMW would strengthen its focus on electric mobility. Besides its all-electric i3, the automaker said it would be able to sell eight plug-in hybrid models, adding it was aiming to shift 100,000 e-cars throughout 2017.

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While analysts found BMW's 2017 sales figures impressive, there was a drop of bitterness for the company as it was overtaken by Mercedes in the top-of-the-range sector, with the German competitor selling 80,000 units more in 2016 and securing first position for the first time in many years.

German auto industry expert Frank Biller noted, though, that BMW shouldn't be too sad about it. He pointed to new technologies, connected cars and shared mobility making inroads and having the potential of becoming a complete game changer in the business.

"It's not the total number of cars sold that will matter most for automakers in the not-too-distant future," Biller said. "What's far more important is who has more customers," he said while referring to the huge potential of selling mobility services to clients.

hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)

 

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