BMW says it would not make a loss if the auto sector experienced a repeat of the 2008-09 crisis, underscoring the confidence of German carmakers in the sustainability of strong demand for premium vehicles in emerging markets.
Friedrich Eichiner, BMW's chief financial officer, said that in spite of recent turmoil in financial markets the carmaker did not foresee a double-dip recession, rather only a slowing of growth in some economies. Nevertheless, he said BMW was much better prepared than in 2008 having implemented restructuring measures, rebalanced its car finance portfolio and increased production flexibility.
"Because of these structural changes we've carried out, if the same crisis came that we had in 2008, we wouldn't make a loss," Eichiner told reporters. After experiencing a savage downturn in 2008-09, global carmakers are on high alert for any sign that consumers are deferring expensive purchases as a result of recent volatility in the markets.
The topic of a potential downturn is set to overshadow this week's Frankfurt motor show, a biennial opportunity for the industry to show off its wares. But BMW said its checks — which include monitoring how many people are coming into showrooms — had revealed no sudden drop in buyers' interest.
Rather, customers of BMW — maker of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce cars — continue to endure long waiting times for some popular models such as the X3 compact SUV. Meanwhile, the company's production lines are running at full capacity.
Total car sales at BMW increased by 7.4 per cent in August compared with the previous year and the company reiterated its goal to achieve more than 1.6 million vehicle sales in 2011, the highest among German premium carmakers. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are enjoying near unprecedented demand in emerging markets.