BMW aims for bigger slice of luxury car market | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.03.2012
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BMW aims for bigger slice of luxury car market

The world's leading luxury carmaker, BMW, has reported record profits for 2011. It says it's well on track to sell more than two million units in 2016 when the Munich-based company turns 100 years.

Luxury automaker BMW of Germany logged record profits last year, the Munich-based group reported on Tuesday. Net earnings rose to 4.907 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in 2011, up a staggering 51.3 percent form the previous year.

Pre-tax profit jumped by 52.1 percent to 7.383 billion on a 14.2-percent increase in unit sales to 1.669 million vehicles, including the group's flagship BMW, its Mini and Rolls Royce vehicles.

BMW's success in 2011 was first and foremost due to higher demand for premium-brand vehicles in the world's two biggest auto markets, China and the US.

The favorable business environment induced BMW to hire another 4,853 workers last year, bringing the total of employees worldwide to 100,306. The business outlook remains positive, meaning that 4,000 more employees are expected to join the company in the course of this year.

Success story to be continued

"The BMW group is confident about the current financial year after a record 2011," Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said in a statement in Munich. "We're targeting new highs in sales volume and pre-tax earnings for 2012," Reithofer added.

Looking further ahead, BMW expects its sales to climb to more than two million units as of 2016 when the company will turn 100. Originally, the group had aimed to achieve this goal in 2020.

BMW emphasized that the premium market was rising faster than other segments in the auto business. It announced it would expand its production facilities in China, the US, South Africa and India in the years ahead.

But the company continues to face strong competition from rivals Audi and Daimler which were also able to announce excellent profits and sales figures for 2011.

hg/nk (Reuters, dpa, AFP)