BMW Group is forecasting a surge in global demand for its vehicles this year, which should present a good opportunity for the German carmaker to deliver a record number of vehicles in 2014. In a statement, BMW said that surging demand in North America and China will set the pace for the 2014 growth, and will be backed up by a recovering vehicle market in Europe.
BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer said in the statement that 2014 will be a year of growth opportunities for the auto industry despite the persistence of volatility, adding that “everything” is becoming more complex and more global.
BMW Group reiterated a sales forecast of more than 2 million vehicles this year, including that of the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. BMW is seeking to post more sales gains as it bids to defend its crown as the best-selling carmaker in the world against main rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
BMW’s investments into new model developments have led the carmaker to post a profit that is just 9.5 percent of revenue in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 9.9 percent in the same period in 2013. BMW invested EUR1.24 billion into new products and equipment in the first quarter of 2014.
The BMW brand has been the No. 1 seller of luxury cars since 2005, when it overtook Mercedes. Both Mercedes-Benz and Audi are seeking to overthrow BMW from its throne by 2020.
In fact, Mercedes already closed the gap with BMW lead in the first four months of 2014 by 12 percent to around 61,750 deliveries, boosted by new compact models and the upgraded top-end S-class sedan, according to figures the carmaker recently published.
Audi, meanwhile, is just behind 7,200 vehicles against BMW. Mercedes is introducing 30 new models by 2020, including a dozen that have no predecessors. Audi also plans to roll out 17 new or revamped vehicles in 2014, including a remake of the TT sports car.
BMW brand, however, is also taking action to fend off the challenge by introducing new models including the 4-series coupe, the X4 SUV, the van-like 2-series Active Tourer and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. [source: BMW]