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BMW Group on course despite drop in Q1

BMW are still looking to post higher pre-tax profits than it did last year despite a drop in pre-tax profits by 24.8% to €641m (£506m) in the first quarter of this year.

BMW said its strong performance in Q1 was overshawdowed by €236m (£186.3m) in exceptional expenses.

Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW Group said the company was still heading towards sales volume records for BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce this year.

Compared to Q1 last year, BMW Group revenues increased by 11.2% to €13.3 billion (£10.5bn).

BMW said its earnings were adversely affected by a number of factors, in particular the weaker US economy.

The German car manufacturer said: “The international financial crisis worsened and the climate for consumer spending became gloomier. As a consequence, pre-owned car prices fell and the level of revenues that could be generated on those vehicles at the end of lease also fell.”

The total number of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brand cars sold increased by 5.6% to 351,787 units in the first quarter, compared to 333,276 units over the same period last year.

BMW brand sales increased by 2.6% to 293,550 units (286,185 Q1 2007). Sales of the 1-series were boosted by the introduction of the coupe and convertible model variants, boost sales by 52.3% to 49,829 units (32,726 units Q1 2007).

Mini recorded good growth with Q1 sales volume up by 23.6% to 58,054 units (46,978 units Q1 2007). The launch of the Clubman added 16,000 units to the Mini total. In total, 14.1% of customers opted for the Mini One, 59.6% purchased the Cooper and 26.3% chose the Mini Cooper S.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars saw sales increase by 61.9% to 183 units in Q1 this year (113 units Q1 2007).

The number of vehicles sold in Germany increased by 4.3% to 65,488 units (first quarter 2007: 62,789 units).

Retail sales volume rose in Great Britain/Ireland by 9% to 42,081 units (38,624 units Q1 2007), France by 23.7% to 16,754 units and in Italy by 9.8% to 27,112.

Above-average growth rates were also recorded in India, where the sales volume increased by close to 900%, in Russia by 40% and in China by 43.2%.

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