Group net profit for the quarter improved to euro1,212m (2010: euro324m). The total number of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand cars sold increased by 21.3% to 382,758 units (2010: 315,614 units), the best first-quarter sales volume performance in the Group’s history.
“The BMW Group has made an excellent start to the new financial year. We have generated record earnings and sold more cars in a first quarter than ever before. Strong sales volume growth and rigorous implementation of the Group’s Strategy Number ONE have been major factors behind our successful performance”, stated Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, on Wednesday in Munich.
The Group’s full-year targets remain unchanged: “The BMW Group is well on its way towards achieving new sales volume and earnings records for the full year. We are aiming for a record sales volume of well over 1.5 million vehicles as well as new full-year sales volume records for each of our premium brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce”, continued Reithofer. The BMW Group’s target of an EBIT margin of more than 8% for the automotive segment remains in place. All of these targets are based on the assumption that economic and political conditions remain stable and that the global economy continues to grow.
The BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands all achieved new sales volume records for the first three months of the year. Other factors contributing to the sharp rise in earnings of the automotive segment were a high value sales model mix, efficiency improvements and better selling prices. First-quarter revenues rose by 34.7% to euro14,373m (2010: euro10,672m). EBIT jumped to euro1,708m (2010: euro291m), resulting in an EBIT margin for the automotive segment of 11.9%. The profit before tax improved to euro1,605m (2010: euro220m). Free cash flow in the automotive segment rose to euro1,624m (2010: negative free cash flow of euro306m).
The BMW brand recorded growth of 20.8% in the first quarter with sales of 321,175 vehicles (2010: 265,809 units). The new BMW 5 Series recorded sharp growth during the quarter under report, more than doubling sales volume to 85,423 units (2010: 39,162 units) and remains the world market leader in its class. Demand for the BMW 7 Series also remains at a high level; first quarter sales of this series – the BMW’s flagship – increased by 4.0% to 14,817 units (2010: 14,245 units).
BMW X models also continue to perform well. First-quarter sales of the BMW X1, for example, rose by 38.6% to 27,238 units (2010: 19,657 units). The new BMW X3, on the market since November 2010, continues to be popular with customers, almost doubling (+94.1%) its sales volume to 22,693 units (2010: 11,693 units). The BMW X5 Series remains market leader in its segment, with sales edging up by 1.1% to 23,149 units (2010: 22,897 units).
The MINI brand also continues to perform well. In total, 60,860 units (2010: 49,526 units) were sold in the first three months of the year, an increase of 22.9% against the same quarter last year. The MINI Countryman, which was added as the fourth model within the MINI family in autumn 2010, is particularly popular with customers and recorded 16,078 unit sales in the quarter under report. More than 30,000 units have already been sold since the model’s launch. Sales of the MINI Convertible went up by 8.6% to 6,464 units (2010: 5,954 units). In autumn 2011, the MINI Coupé will become the fifth model variant to join the MINI family.
First-quarter sales of Rolls-Royce brand motor cars more than doubled to 723 units (2010: 279 units). The Ghost remains particularly successful, with almost 3,000 units sold since its market launch. During the quarter under report, the Ghost recorded a sales volume of 566 units (2010: 158 units). The Phantom also registered sharp growth (+60.6%) with 106 units sold in the period under report (2010: 66 units).
The BMW Group recorded growth in almost all regions during the first three months of the year. In total, 200,088 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand cars were sold in Europe, 13.0% more than in the previous year. Within those figures, sales increased by 9.0% to 64,064 units in Germany and by 21.7% to 39,259 units in Great Britain. Growth was also recorded in Italy (19,007 units; +8.0%), France (16,422 uníts; +13.5%) and in Spain (10,722 units +3.3%).
The sales performance in North America was also strong in the first quarter, with the number of cars sold rising by 17.3% to 71,257 units. Sales in the USA rose by 18.2% to 65,163 units, making it once again the largest single market for the BMW Group. High growth rates were also achieved in Asia, where a total of 90,148 units were sold (+53.0%), including 58,706 units (+71.6%) in China.
First-quarter Motorcycles segment revenues increased by 13.1% to euro397m (2010: euro351m). The segment EBIT amounted to euro31m (2010: euro32m) and was thus at a similar level to the previous year. The segment result includes earnings of Husqvarna for the first time. Sales of BMW and Husqvarna brand motorcycles rose by 11.4% to 25,049 units (2010: 22,479 units), comprising 23,109 BMW motorcycles (2010: 20,840; +10.9%) and 1,940 Husqvarna motorcycles (2010: 1,639; +18.4%).
The Financial Services segment has also made a good start in 2011, with first-quarter revenues rising by 4.5% to euro4,183m (2010: euro4,004m). Profit before tax improved to euro429m (2010: euro222m), partly reflecting the fact that refinancing conditions remained favourable. The total number of lease and financing contracts under management increased by 4.1% to stand at 3,233,567 at 31 March 2011. The number of new financing and lease contracts signed (276,856) was 13.8% up on the previous year. Compared to the previous year, lease business grew by 19.3% and credit financing by 11.5%. Leasing accounted for 30.3% of new business, credit financing for 69.7%. The credit loss ratio for the quarter fell to 0.55% (2010: 0.65%).
The worldwide workforce increased by 0.3% to 96,045 employees at 31 March (2010: 95,787). Compared to the year-end 2010, there was an increase of 0.6%.
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