The BMW Group says it has begun the financial year 2017 with a solid first quarter and made ‘excellent progress in terms of implementing Strategy Number One > Next’. First-quarter deliveries of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles rose by 5.3% to 587,237 units (2016: 557,605 units).

Deliveries of electrified vehicles doubled to nearly 20,000 units in the first quarter. In addition, the BMW Group announced its intention to build the BMW iNEXT as the company’s technological spearhead at its Dingolfing plant. The iNEXT, which is due to be unveiled in 2021, will set the benchmark in terms of automated driving, electrification and connectivity. The decision underlines the significance of Germany as a location for developing future technologies and shaping tomorrow’s mobility.

The BMW Group recorded significant first-quarter growth in terms of both revenues and net profit. Alongside a solid operating performance, positive valuation-related earnings effects included in the financial result also contributed to the sharp rise in profit before taxes. “We shall continue to focus on rigorously implementing Strategy Number One > Next and ensuring sustainable high profitability in order that we can shape future mobility by leveraging our own resources. That is how we will measure our success,” commented Harald Krüger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in Munich.

In the first quarter, the BMW Group embarked on the most substantial model offensive in its history with the launch of the new BMW 5 Series. Around 40 new and updated models of the BMW Group’s three premium brands will be brought to market during 2017 and 2018. “Customers are excited by the new 5 Series Sedan, as we can see in its extremely good market reception. We expect the BMW Group’s three premium brands to set new delivery records again in 2017 and the Group to remain the leading manufacturer of premium vehicles,” stated Krüger.

Particular emphasis is being placed on the upper-premium segment. Through the focused addition of highly emotive vehicles, the BMW Group is targeting significant sales volume growth in this segment by 2020. Alongside the BMW 7 Series, the BMW Group will be launching other models in this segment, including the BMW X7.

New sales volume, revenues and earnings records in first quarter
First-quarter deliveries of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles rose by 5.3% to 587,237 units (2016: 557,605 units). All the group’s major sales regions contributed to this increase. Thanks to this strong performance, group revenues for the period from January to March were significantly higher at EUR23,448m  (US$25,588m) (2016: EUR20,853m; +12.4%). Profit before financial result amounted to EUR2,646m, 7.7% up on the previous year’s corresponding figure of EUR2,457m. Group profit before tax (EBT) was also significantly higher at EUR3,005m (2016: EUR2,368m).

BMW says the significant increase was largely due to the following effects: a positive valuation effect of EUR183m in connection with the participation of new investors in the mapping service HERE, an increase in the other financial result of EUR122m, driven mainly by valuation effects, and a higher profit contribution from the Chinese joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive. As a result, the Group’s EBT margin climbed to 12.8% (2016: 11.4%) in the first quarter. Group net profit rose by 31.0% to EUR2,149m (2016: EUR1,641m).

“The first quarter results lay a very sound foundation for us to achieve our ambitious targets for 2017. Given that the BMW Group is embarking on the biggest model offensive in its corporate history, we expect start-up and marketing costs regarding new models to increase over the course of the year. We will also incur high upfront expenditure in connection with electric mobility and autonomous driving,” pointed out Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Finance. “Short-term gain is not the decisive factor for us: we remain focused on sustainable, profitable growth.”

BMW Group vehicles with electrified drivetrains performed particularly well during the first quarter, as nearly 20,000 BMW i3, BMW i8 and BMW iPerformance plug-in hybrids were sold, twice the previous year’s corresponding figure. “We are therefore well on course to delivering more than 100,000 electrified vehicles for the first time in 2017,” Krüger stated.

Electrified vehicles accounted for more than 3% of all BMW Group vehicle deliveries to customers in the first quarter (Q1 2016: 1.7%).

When the first MINI brand plug-in hybrid model is introduced in summer 2017, the BMW Group will have nine electrified models in its portfolio. The BMW i8 Roadster is set to follow in the coming year and the first all-electric MINI is due in 2019. In 2020, the battery-powered BMW X3 will integrate all-electric mobility into the Group’s core brand. One year later, the new BMW iNEXT is set to take to the roads. As the BMW Group’s new technological spearhead, it will set the benchmark in the future-oriented ACES fields Autonomous, Connected, Electrified and Services/Shared.

Deliveries of BMW brand vehicles totalled 503,445 units (2016: 478,743; +5.2%), surpassing the half-million figure for the first time in an opening quarter. Sales volume growth came from various areas, including Contributions made by the BMW Group’s flagship model, the BMW 7 Series, and the BMW X-family models. Nearly 16,000 units of the BMW 7 Series were sold, 50.2% more than one year earlier. Sales of the BMW X1 jumped by 29.5% to 66,063 units in the first quarter. Similarly, the BMW X3 (41,742 units; +7.8%) and the BMW X5 (45,892 units; +17.7%) also recorded significant growth.

Sales of 83,059 units during the first three months 2017 also represented a new first-quarter sales volume record for the MINI brand (2016: 78,311 units; +6.1%). The new MINI Clubman reported a significant rise, with deliveries to customers increasing to 14,830 units (2016: 12,173 units; +21.8%). First-quarter sales of the new MINI Convertible tripled to 7,705 units (2016: 2,553 units). With 47,530 units sold, the MINI 3 and 5 door models matched their previous year’s performance (2016: 47,396 units; +0.3%).

Following the second highest annual sales in 2016, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sales in the first quarter of 2017 were up year-on-year. This was based on full market availability of Dawn compared with the same period last year. In total, 733 Rolls-Royce motor cars were delivered to customers across the globe (+33.0%). Demand for Rolls-Royce models remains strong in most regions, although this is set against ongoing market volatility in the global luxury industry as a whole. Rolls-Royce continues to strive for long-term sustainable growth.

The BMW Group’s upward sales volume trend continued in Europe, with 267,996 units (2016: 257,120 units) delivered to customers during the first three-month period, up 4.2% year-on-year. Solid growth was reported in a number of markets, including Great Britain (+6.5%; 63,004 units), France (+5.4%; 21,943 units) and Italy (+6.7%; 21,278 units).

First-quarter sales of BMW Group vehicles in Asia rose by 9.2% to surpass the 200,000-unit mark (200,140 units; 2016: 183,204 units). Significant growth was also achieved on the Chinese mainland, where sales climbed by 12.4% to 142,958 units. First-quarter deliveries in Japan went up by 5.2% to 19,681 units.

Sales in the Americas region increased slightly by 2.0% to 102,238 units (2016: 100,245 units), including 82,169 units delivered to customers in the US (+0.7%).

Workforce increased
The size of the BMW Group’s workforce increased by 3.0% year-on-year and comprised 126,317 employees (2016: 122,692 employees) worldwide.