BMW demand boosts Brilliance profits

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 August, 2011, 12:00am


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China overtook the US as the second- biggest market for BMW-branded luxury cars in May, helping the German carmaker's mainland partner boost first-half profits by 84.7 per cent, the firm's chairman said.

'I'm confident that with the growth we are seeing the day will come when China is No 1 globally,' Shenyang-based Brilliance China Automobile Holdings chairman Wu Xiaoan said yesterday.

'Our growth isn't limited by market demand but by our production capacity,' he said.

Brilliance sold 55,012 locally-made BMWs in the first six months of the year, an increase of 68.8 per cent from a year earlier and more than half the 100,000-unit sales target the company set itself in March. Wu said the firm's new 2011 target is 108,000 units.

The German firm sold another 60,000 imported cars on the mainland in the first half, according to J.D. Power and Associates data.

Mainland buyers putting down at least 296,000 yuan (HK$361,000) for a Shenyang-made 3 series BMW, or a minimum 420,000 yuan for a 5 series, must wait three to six months depending on customisation requests due to order backlogs, Brilliance non-executive director Lei Xiaoyang said.

The BMW joint venture is spending 10 billion yuan on a second plant in Shenyang that will double its 2012 annual output capacity to 200,000 cars, and triple it to 300,000 units by 2013. The expansion includes BMW's first mainland engine plant.

The company aims to have 270 dealerships on the mainland by the end of the year, up from 210 in January. It plans to launch the locally made BMW X1 SUV in the fourth quarter of this year and a new generation of the 3 series next year.

Brilliance, which also makes micro-vans, or mianbaoche, said its share of net profits from the BMW joint venture nearly tripled to 832.3 million yuan in the first half.