2011 5-Series and MINI Countryman boost BMW’s 2010 profit

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 11, 2011

Boosted by the new Mini Countryman and the revamped BMW 5 series, BMW AG said that its 2010 profit surged more than 15-fold, rising to EUR3.23 billion ($4.47 billion) from EUR210 million a year earlier. Such figure bested the average estimate of EUR2.91 billion from 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. In 2010, revenue rose 19 percent to EUR60.5 billion.

A 36 percent increase in demand for the overhauled 5-series sedan in China and the United States helped boost BMW’s profit.

In its first full year, the X1 compact SUV sold more than 100,000 units, while the Countryman, the Mini brand's first four-door model, sold 14,337 units since being launched in September 2010. Jose Asumendi, a London-based analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland, said BMW must build off such results and profit from its outstanding product momentum.

BMW proposed a record dividend of EUR1.30 per common share, more than triple the 30 cents paid the previous year. Premium carmakers see sales gains in 2011 on higher spending in the United States and growing wealth in China, the world's two biggest car markets. Audi AG’s owner, Volkwagen AG, is adding extra shifts to meet demand, CEO Martin Winterkorn recently said in Wolfsburg.

There is a clear distinction between the new MINI Countryman and the brand's current product lineup, as expressed in the body design. With dimensions of 4,097 mm (161.3 inches) in length -- 4,110 mm (161.8 inches) for the MINI Cooper S Countryman -- 1,789 mm (70.4 inches) in width and 1,561 mm (61.5 inches) in height, new MINI Countryman represents a fusion between increased ground clearance, a raised seating position and the traditional brand proportions.

In truer sense, the MINI Countryman fills the blanks between the classic MINI concept and a Sports Activity Vehicle. The design of the MINI Countryman is an embodiment of the latest development of the brand's unique design language. Likewise, it is also a showcase of the fresh interpretations of the brand’s basic design elements, like the striking three-level split of body and greenhouse and roof, as well as a front end marked by large headlights, the hexagonal radiator grille and upright windscreen.

Further design elements include vertically stacked rear lights as well as the "cascading" contours of the rear that broaden as they flow from roof to wheel. The Countryman also features a number of distinctive MINI design details like headlights and rear lights that are attached like "islands" into the body and a side scuttle located between the front wing and door. Moreover, the Countryman also features a greenhouse that tapers back to the rear – a feature that distinguishes the vehicle as a true MINI.

All of these features and elements combine to give the new MINI Countryman a design that conveys not only performance and robustness, but also originality and versatility, while keeping the customary MINI charm and allure intact. Endowing the new MINI Countryman with a mature and stylishly aggressive look is its structured front end marked by an upright radiator grille, large headlight units and a contoured bonnet.

The front end rises up not only to comply with current pedestrian protection laws but also to give the Countryman a dynamic stance, which is further emphasized by a tapering powerdome. Its headlights are still located at their traditional MINI position -- on the outer edges of the bonnet.

These chrome surrounds on the headlights extend into the crossover’s shoulders to further highlight its width. Noticeably, the headlights are shaped unlike the classic circular form of the other current MINI models. Their upper edge slants to the outside to provide more presence to the wheel arches. Meanwhile, their inner edge seems to be shying away from the radiator grille.

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