BMW’s profits jump as Chinese market rebounds

BMW’s third-quarter profits grew by almost 10 per cent, as the German brand became the latest luxury carmaker to benefit from a strong recovery in China.

Sales in China, BMW’s largest market, grew by more than 31 per cent in the quarter to the end of September compared with the same period in 2019. Its European sales also increased 7 per cent from a year earlier.

The rebound in demand helped BMW report a pre-tax profit of €2.5bn for the period, up from €2.25 in the same quarter last year. Two weeks ago, BMW revealed it had €3bn in free cash flow in the third quarter of the year, comfortably beating market expectations.

However, the manufacturer warned its automotive business could still make no profits for the whole of 2020, saying it “continues to assume that demand in all key markets will be significantly reduced in light of the coronavirus pandemic”.

Its total worldwide sales are still 12.5 per cent lower for the first nine months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

The Munich-based group also announced that all four of its German plants would be producing battery-powered vehicles “in the foreseeable future”, as it pushes ahead with plans to put 5m pure electric cars on the road over the next decade.

BMW’s results come after domestic rival Daimler reported that its net profits increased by nearly a fifth in the third quarter to almost €2.2bn, thanks to a strong rebound in sales of its Mercedes-Benz cars in China.

Volkswagen, which owns premium brands Audi and Porsche, also returned to profit in the three months to the end of September, after posting a loss of €1.4bn for the first six months of the year.

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