BMW Looks Beyond Tough Market...
BMW looks beyond tough market
MILAN — Next year will be difficult for motor manufacturers, the CEO of BMW said in an interview published in an Italian newspaper at the weekend, but he said the German car maker would emerge stronger from the crisis.
“We are living through difficult times and even next year will be an extremely difficult year for the worldwide industry,” BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told Il Sole 24 Ore.
“Nevertheless, BMW will know how to reinvent itself and come out stronger from this crisis in the sector.”
BMW, the world’s largest luxury car manufacturer , issued a profit warning in August, partly because of the global financial crisis and weaker economic growth in the US, a key market for the company.
Reithofer, however, said BMW had survived other crises.
“It will be the same again this time. By 2012, we want to save € 6bn on raw materials and fixed costs, burdens which will already be lower in 2008 compared with 2007,” he said.
Reithofer said the group aimed to sell 1,8-million cars in 2012.
BMW is in talks with Italy’s Fiat over possible co-operation between their Mini and Alfa Romeo brands.
“The technical checks on possible co-operation between Mini and Alfa are proceeding normally,” Reithofer said. “I read in the press that there are many car makers that are interested in working with BMW, also Daimler-Benz,” he said.
Separately, the Munich-based vehicle maker said last week it planned to lease 500 electric Mini Cooper cars in New York, New Jersey and California early next year, stepping up its pace on fuel-efficient vehicles.
The two-seater cars will be leased to customers for a year with an option for an extension. BMW did not say what the cost would be, or how customers could apply. The battery-powered cars would have a range of about 250km when fully charged, the company said.
“It’s not about revenue. It is something they can do to establish their green brand,” said Jim Hall, an analyst at 2953 Analytics in Birmingham, Michigan.
The plan by BMW to get the cars on the road early next year comes after Jim McDowell, Mini’s North America chief, said in July the group would offer the cars by the middle of next year.
Car manufacturers such as General Motors , Toyota and Chrysler were also pushing to bring electric vehicles to market, after record US fuel prices spurred demand for efficient models.
BMW plans to use the 500 Minis primarily to gather information about performance. The vehicles will be built in Oxford, U K , and Munich, and will have only two seats because of space required by the batteries. The company said it was also considering electric Minis for Europe.
“The number of cars is a good number, because it is going to give them very good data,” Hall said. Reuters, Bloomberg