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The #bmwgroup has started the financial year 2018 with a strong first quarter. Despite volatile conditions and unfavourable exchange rate effects, new best ever figures were recorded for sales volume and net profit. Despite high upfront expenditure for tomorrow’s mobility, the #automotive segment also set a new record for its result from operations (EBIT).
“Our industry is currently going through a phase of unprecedented technological change and must master the highly challenging conditions. The first quarter highlights some important points: we think in terms of opportunities and are pursuing a well-defined strategy; we are combining tomorrow's mobility with sustainable profitability – underlined by the fact that we are capable of generating a high pre-tax margin on group level, even in volatile times,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in Munich on Friday. “The #bmwgroup was the world's most profitable car company in 2017 and is stepping up the pace again in 2018. In the opening quarter of the new year, we achieved new best-ever figures for sales volume and net profit and implemented some crucial strategic decisions.” The #bmwgroup continues to play an active role in transforming the mobility sector with its future-oriented ACES programme:Automated, Connected, Electrified and Services.
Despite the major changes impacting the mobility sector, the one constant factor driving the BMW Group’s strategic decisions is the customer. That is why the #bmwgroup offers a unique range of products, from the BMW i3 through to the Rolls-Royce Phantom, alongside services ranging from customised financing through to intelligent mobility services, which contribute towards making customers' lives easier and more convenient. With this user-oriented strategy, the #bmwgroup is developing into a customer-focused mobility and tech company, with the goal to have 100 million active customers by 2025.
Since the beginning of the year, the #bmwgroup has taken major steps to implement significant parts of its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT. In February, the #bmwgroup and the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall signed a letter of intent to establish a joint venture for the local production of all-electric MINI vehicles in China. This step is a further clear commitment to the electrified future of the MINI brand and highlights the importance of the Chinese market for the #bmwgroup.
One month later, the #bmwgroup and Daimler AG signed an agreement to merge their mobility services business units. The aim is to merge and strategically expand the range of on-demand mobility services provided in the areas of CarSharing, Ride-Hailing, Parking, Charging and Multimodality.
On 11 April, the #bmwgroup opened its campus for autonomous driving just outside Munich, where together with partners, it will develop the technologies required for both highly and fully automated driving. Across 23,000 square metres of office space, new, state-of-the-art working environments now provide space for 1,800 employees. The project is creating many jobs and in 2017 alone, the #bmwgroup recruited around 1,000 people to develop the technologies of the future. IT specialists and software developers in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis are particularly sought after.
Last week at the #auto China 2018 in Beijing, the #bmwgroup previewed its BMW Concept iX3 vehicle, giving an idea of the first all-electric BMW X3, which will be manufactured in China. Production is scheduled to commence in 2020. The vehicle will be the first to be equipped with the fifth generation of electric drivetrains and will also feature enhanced battery technology. With a net capacity of more than 70 kWh, the vehicle will have a range of over 400 kilometres in the WLTP cycle.
At the beginning of March, the #bmwgroup announced that the BMW i Vision Dynamics will be launched as an all-electric BMW i4 and manufactured in the Munich plant. The #bmwgroup already produces electrified models at ten of its plants worldwide. Furthermore, the Oxford plant will begin producing the all-electric MINI in 2019. The BMW i4 is just one of the 25 electrified models that the #bmwgroup intends to bring to market by 2025. Half of these models will be fully electric.
The #bmwgroup is also stepping up the pace when it comes to its portfolio of conventionally powered vehicles. Through 2018, the largest product offensive in the history of the Group will be continued – powered by an additional twenty new and revised models. The BMW X2 was successfully launched in March, the new BMW X3 will be manufactured at three different locations from the second quarter on and the new generation of the BMW X4 is in the starting blocks. 2018 is clearly the "Year of X" for the world's largest manufacturer of premium vehicles and the new vehicles are expected to provide additional sales volume momentum, particularly in the second half of the year.
New first-quarter highs for sales volume and net profit
First-quarter deliveries of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles rose by 3.0% to 604,629 units (2017: 587,237). All three major sales regions contributed to the increase. Due to currency effects, Group revenues for the three-month period fell by 5.1% to € 22,694 million (2017: € 23,926 million). Adjusted for currency effects, revenues were at a similar level to the previous year (-0.7%). Profit before financial result (EBIT) was also influenced by currency factors and came in at € 2,733 million (2017: € 2,821 million / -3.1%). Group profit before tax (EBT), which is relevant for the #bmwgroup financial guidance, amounted to € 3,165 million (2017: € 3,180 million / -0.5%) and reached the previous year’s high level despite rising costs and upfront expenditure for R&D activities. This performance was partly due to the financial result, which improved despite the impact of items working in the opposite direction. The previous year’s first-quarter financial result benefited from a positive valuation effect of € 183 million arising in conjunction with the participation of new investors in the HERE mapping service. Improvements in other financial result totalling € 122 million had also impacted the previous year’s figure. In the current year, the financial result for the period from January to March includes the valuation effect arising in connection with the acquisition of the 50% stake in the DriveNow joint venture from Sixt SE amounting to € 209 million.
Another strong free Cashflow expected for 2018
Overall, the EBT margin for the Group came in at 13.9% (2017: 13.3%), the highest quarterly figure since 2011. First-quarter Group net profit amounted to € 2,301 million (2017: € 2,274 million) and was therefore slightly up (+1.2%) on the record figure reported for the previous year.
“The first quarter underlines how we can perform well even under volatile conditions. So now we continue to focus on what needs to be done in order to ensure 2018 is another record year,“ commented Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management for BMW AG responsible for Finance. “We remain on track to secure the sustainable success of the company. The basis for future achievements is our financial strength, which we want to underline in 2018 with another free cashflow of more than € 3 billion.“
Automotive segment: EBIT margin within target range
First-quarter Automotive segment revenues were also impacted by currency effects and finished the quarter slightly down (-3.4%) at € 19,326 million (2017: € 20,001 million). By contrast, EBIT of € 1,881 million (2017: € 1,877 million) remained at the previous year's record level (+0.2%), despite the high level of upfront expenditure for R&D. The EBIT margin improved accordingly to 9.7% (2017: 9.4%) and was thus at the upper end of the target range of 8 to 10%. At € 2,281 million (2017: € 2,285 million), profit before tax was also at a similarly high level to the previous year (-0.2%).
BMW Group vehicles with electrified drivetrains were particularly popular, with sales of the BMW i3 and i8 models, together with BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric plug-in hybrids, up by 38% to just under 27,000 units. “We are therefore well on course to delivering more than 140,000 electrified vehicles in the current year,” Harald Krügerstated. Electrified vehicles accounted for more than four percent of total #bmwgroup vehicle deliveries to customers in the first quarter (Q1 2017: 3.3%). With its three #automotive premium brands, the #bmwgroup is confident it will remain the world's leading manufacturer of premium vehicles in 2018.
Overall, the BMW brand delivered 517,447 units (2017: 503,445 units) to customers, its best result to date for a first quarter (+2.8%). Sales-volume growth was driven especially by the new generation of the BMW 5 Series and the BMW X1. These vehicles were introduced in spring 2017 and both have recorded double-digit growth.
The MINI brand also performed well during the first quarter, recording its best sales volume result to date for a first quarter, with 86,375 units delivered to customers (2017: 83,059 units; +4,0%) The market launch of the updated MINI and the MINI Convertible in March is expected to create growing momentum over the remainder of the year.
First-quarter sales of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars rose by 10.1% year-on-year to 807 units (2017: 733 units). Customer demand for Rolls-Royce models remains strong worldwide with the exception of the Middle East, where the market remains volatile. The new Phantom, the brand’s flagship, has been on sale since January, with order intake set to remain high through to the year-end. Preparations are well underway for the market launch of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
The #bmwgroup remains committed to its strategy of achieving a well-balanced distribution of sales worldwide, using its highly flexible production, sales and marketing structures to even out fluctuating demand between individual regions. All three of the Group’s major sales regions contributed to volume growth during the first quarter, driven in particular by strong performances on the Chinese mainland and in the USA.
Sales figures for Europe edged up by 1.0% to 270,725 units (2017: 267,996 units). First-quarter deliveries to customers in France were slightly up on the previous year (+3.1%). Business in the UK, however, contracted (-2.7%) in the wake of the continuing uncertainty regarding the progress of Brexit negotiations.
Sales of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles in Asia in the first quarter 2018 grew by a solid 6.3% to 212,693 units (2017: 200,140 units). China again accounted for the lion's share of the increase, with deliveries of the Group’s three #automotive brands up 7.1% compared to one year earlier.
In the Americas region, the #bmwgroup recorded volume growth of 4.0% to 106,348 units (2017: 102,238 units). The figure includes 84,630 units sold in the USA, also slightly up year-on-year (+3.0%).
Motorcycles segment sales volume at previous year's level
BMW Motorrad sales volume in the first quarter was at the same high level as the previous year. Worldwide deliveries to customers edged up 0.6% to 35,858 units (2017: 35,636 units), setting a new first-quarter sales volume record for the seventh year in succession. At the same time, segment performance was held down by the impact of the current model change and by currency effects. Revenues fell by 15.5% to € 524 million (2017: € 620 million). EBIT was also adversely affected by the same factors and finished at € 77 million (2017: € 125 million; -38.4%). Pre-tax profit for the three-month period amounted to € 78 million (2017: € 125 million; -37.6%). The first-quarter EBIT marginfor the Motorcycles segment came in at 14.7% (2017: 20.2%). In the light of slightly slower production ramp-up of new models, retail sales for 2018 are now expected to grow slightly.
Financial Services segment remains on course
The contract portfolio under management within the Financial Services segmentgrew by 1.0% during the three-month period under report and stood at 5,434,664 contracts at 31 March 2018 (31 December 2017: 5,380,785 contracts). During the first quarter, 451,908 (2017: 465,634) new leasing and credit financing contracts were signed with retail customers (-2.9%). Segment revenues and earnings were influenced by currency factors: First-quarter revenues fell by 5.3% to € 6,674 million (2017: € 7,046 million) and profit before tax by 5.7% to € 561 million (2017: € 595 million). The #bmwgroup continues to record adequate levels of provision with respect to residual value and credit risk exposures in the leasing and financing lines of business.
Increase in workforce size
The BMW Group’s workforce comprised 131,181 employees at the end of the first quarter, 1.0% more than at 31 December 2017. Skilled workers and IT specialists in future-oriented areas, such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and electric mobility continue to be recruited.
BMW Group reaffirms targets for the financial year 2018
The #bmwgroup is confident of achieving its projected targets for the current financial year – largely thanks to its strong brands, its attractive product portfolio and the expectation that international automobile markets will continue their generally upward trend. These favourable factors are offset by extremely high levels of upfront expenditure for new technologies, fierce competition and rising personnel expenses. The global political and economic environment is expected to remain volatile.
The #bmwgroup reaffirms its targets for the full year. "We are targeting new record figures in the Automotive segment for sales volume and revenues in 2018,” stated Harald Krüger. “Group profit before tax is expected to be at least at the previous financial year's level.” The #bmwgroup continues to forecast an EBIT margin in the target range of 8 to 10% for the #automotive segment.
In connection with the planned bundling of mobility services, the #bmwgroup has announced that – if approved by the competition authorities in the current year – the foundation of the joint venture will have a one-off valuation and earnings effect and will result in an adjustment to the outlook. Under these circumstances, the Group profit before tax for 2018 would be slightly higher than one year earlier. The effect described above has no impact on the EBIT margin of the #automotive segment.
Forecasts for the current year are based on the assumption that worldwide economic and political conditions will not change significantly.
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The #bmwgroup – an overview
Change in %
Deliveries to customers
Workforce 1 (compared to 31.12.2017)
Automotive segment EBIT margin3
Motorcycles segment EBIT margin3
-5.5 % Points
EBT margin BMW Group 3
Profit before financial result (EBIT) 3
Profit before tax (EBT) 3
Income taxes 3
Net profit 3
Earnings per share 2, 3
1 Excluding dormant employment contracts, employees in the work and non-work phases of pre-retirement part-time working arrangements and low wage earners.
2 Earnings per share of common stock/preferred stock
3 2017 figures were adjusted according to IFRS 15 – see note  in quarterly report.
For questions please contact:
Max-Morten Borgmann, Business and Finance Communications
Telephone: +49 89 382-24118, Telefax: +49 89 382-24418
Glenn Schmidt, Head of Business and Finance Communications
Telephone: +49 89 382-24544, Telefax: +49 89 382-24418
The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the #bmwgroup is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The #bmwgroup production network comprises 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2017, the #bmwgroup sold over 2,463,500 passenger vehicles and more than 164,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2017 was € 10.655 billion on revenues amounting to € 98.678 billion. As of 31 December 2017, the #bmwgroup had a workforce of 129,932 employees.
The success of the #bmwgroup has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.