Brilliance China Automotive expects to sell 150,000 BMW cars this year - a year-on-year jump of 40 per cent after a boost in its production capacity - under its joint venture with the German carmaker.
The target comes after the joint venture nearly doubled its share of Brilliance's earnings last year, as sales rose 53.5 per cent to 108,000 cars. It also opened a second plant in Tiexi.
While dealers of luxury brands including BMW and Audi have offered perks such as iPhones and record discounts of up to 25 per cent on high-end car models, Brilliance chairman Wu Xiaoan said this hardly pointed to a slowdown in the luxury car market.
'It's normal to have seasonal fluctuations in demand,' Wu said. 'But it is clear that the prospect of the mainland's luxury car market is still bright. As you can see, our production cannot catch up with demand. We expect a 15 to 20 per cent growth in the sector this year and our group will see an even higher growth.'
The big surge in BMW's contributions last year offset a drop from the group's minibus business.
Revenue fell 28 per cent to 6.44 billion yuan (HK$7.93 billion) because of a decline in sales, unit prices and changes in the business models.
Wu said the firm would launch a new platform of multi-purpose vehicles (MPV), including high-end models, by next year to boost its MPV's sales and market share.
Net profit rose 42.6 per cent to 1.81 billion yuan, although the firm offered no dividend as earnings were being used to cover more than 10 billion yuan of investment the group made in the past few years to boost production capacity.
Following the opening of the plant in Tiexi late last year, the group will be able to nearly double capacity to 200,000 cars this year and to 360,000 cars next year - although the enhanced capacity is only enough to cover domestic demand.
Meanwhile, Dongfeng Motor's chairman Xu Ping yesterday confirmed media reports that the group was in talks with Volvo for a possible partnership on the production of commercial vehicles, but said there was no solid plan or date yet on the setting of a joint venture.
Director Zhou Qiang said Nissan Motor, which has a joint venture with Dongfeng in the commercial car segment, would then shift to developing cars with Dongfeng if the talks materialised.
The amount, in yuan, contributed by the joint venture with BMW to Brilliance China Automotive's earnings last year