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Record sales to boost BMW’s i3 EV

BMW buoyed: The German manufacturer plans to hire around 2000 extra staff this year, before it releases its i3 EV (seen left with the i8) in 2013.

More than 1.5 million sales and 2000 new workers is BMW’s plan for this year

16 May 2011

JUST four months into the year, BMW has laid out an audacious plan to sell “well over” 1.5 million vehicles and hire around 2000 extra staff in 2011, before it releases its all-electric i3 city-car in 2013.

Buoyed by BMW’s best-ever full-year and first-quarter financial results – and its second-best Q1 sales results – chairman Norbert Reithofer revealed the ambitious sales target with which BMW hopes to achieve its previously stated aim of setting a new earnings record in 2011.

“We aim to deliver more vehicles than ever before – well over 1.5 million vehicles (in 2011),” said Mr Reithofer at BMW’s annual general meeting last Thursday in Munich.

As well as reaffirming that BMW’s goals of achieving record earnings and sales figures remain intact, Mr Reithofer said BMW’s earnings before income tax (EBIT) margin target of more than eight per cent for the automotive segment also remains in place.

And, fresh from announcing a $US4 billion investment in China, BMW said it will create about 2000 new jobs this year – more than half of them in Germany – in the lead-up to production of the i3 EV in 2013, followed by the company’s second all-electric volume model, the i8 eco-coupe.

 center imageBMW chairman Norbert Reithofer, Mini Ray, BMW X3, BMW 520d Touring.

“The company will be launching its innovative BMW i3, the first pure electric vehicle for major cities, on the market in 2013,” said BMW in a statement.

“This will be followed by the BMW i8, an extremely fuel-efficient sportscar. Both vehicles will have a passenger compartment made of carbon – a first for the automobile industry.

“The BMW Group will also be making its future combustion engines even more economical.”

Having just posted its most successful financial year in its history, BMW also used the AGM to announce a record share of profits for its workers. Combined with Christmas bonuses, BMW said most staff on collective pay-scale agreements will take home an extra €7490 ($A9992) for 2010.

The addition of 2000 workers throughout the course of this year will return BMW’s total global workforce to above the 96,230 figure it stood at by the end of 2009, before falling 0.8 per cent last year to 95,453.

Mr Reithofer said BMW would continue to focus exclusively on the premium vehicle segment in the future, as it offers expanded services for individual sustainable mobility.

“We will expand our leading premium position in the automobile industry,” he said.

“We have the right DNA and the right values to be successful in the future. We have a clear route to sustainable mobility.”

BMW said that “to ensure profitable growth in the future” it would expand its use of common chassis architectures and modules across a range of models, a process it said was vindicated by fresh German breakdown figures that showed the Mini, 1 Series and X3 were the most reliable in their segments, with the 5 Series ranked second.

“We are developing fewer parts and components. Processes are becoming more stable and the error rate is falling,” said Mr Reithofer.

The BMW Group’s record Q1 results included a 28.9 per cent increase in revenue to €16.0 million ($A21.3m) on the back of 382,758 Mini, BMW and Rolls-Royce vehicle sales – up 21.3 per cent on 2010 (325,614).

The group’s success continued in April, when it sold 137,183 vehicles – up 17.9 per cent – to have sold almost 520,000 vehicles in the first four months (up 20.4 per cent).

BMW’s global result is in contrast to its experience in Australia, where the Bavarian brand was beaten to the number one luxury car sales position by Mercedes-Benz for the first time in seven years and sales to April this year are down 5.4 per cent.

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