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BMW announces record profits

The gap between the winners and losers in the European car market appears to be widening. While mass market car manufacturers like GM, Fiat and Peugeot Citroen have recorded huge losses in Europe, BMW has just announced figures for 2012 which they say was the best year in their history. The German group, which also owns British brands MINI and Rolls-Royce, announced significant rises in profits and revenues.

The gap between the winners and losers in the European car market appears to be widening. While mass market car manufacturers like GM, Fiat and Peugeot Citroen have recorded huge losses in Europe, BMW has just announced figures for 2012 which they say was the best year in their history. The German group, which also owns British brands MINI and Rolls-Royce, announced significant rises in profits and revenues. Pre-tax profits rose nearly 6% to 7.82 billion Euros while revenues increased by 11.7% to an all time record of 76.8 billion Euros. In terms of units sold, the German car maker said that total vehicles sold worldwide amounted to 1.84 million, an increase on 2011 of 10.6%.
 
The chairman of BMW, Norbert Reithofer, hailed the results saying: "The past year has been the most successful year in BMW history." In an official statement he added: "We have achieved or surpassed all of our targets for 2012 in the face of very challenging market conditions."We are again targeting further sales volume growth worldwide in 2013 and hence a new record level for deliveries. However, economic conditions are likely to remain challenging in many markets." 
 
Like many luxury car makers, sales in the emerging markets of Asia are becoming ever more critical to success. A closer look at BMW's figures show that the volume of sales in Asia rose by 31% to 493,393 vehicles. The vast majority of these were accounted for by sales of 327,341 MINI and BMW cars in China. This was also a record, being the first time that BMW has sold more than 300,000 cars in China. The more mature market of Japan also showed strong rises, increasing by 19% to 56,701 cars. The British marques also contributed to BMW's growth with MINI sales rising by 5.8% to 301,526 and Rolls-Royce recording a more modest increase of 1% to 3,575 cars.
 
The results throw into sharp relief how the current economic climate is affecting different sectors of the car market. While economy brands suffer, at the recent Geneva motor show luxury brands like Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Bentley were particularly bullish. Certainly exports to China and the far-east are driving this growth but sales of luxury cars in the West are holding up well. The woes of Europe's car industry also seems to follow the north south divide experienced in the general economy with KIA UK president, Paul Philpott, pointing out: "The further south you go, the tougher it gets" in reference to the particularly hard conditions for car makers in Span, France and Italy.
 

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