BMW CEO Believed Europe Needs Five More Years to Overcome Debt Crisis image

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said that it will take at least five more years for the European governments to overcome the debt crisis in the region.

“I don’t think that’s a pessimistic assumption,” CEO Norbert Reithofer said on Thursday during a conference call to discuss first-quarter results. The business environment in Europe “is becoming ever more uncertain and volatile”, the CEO said, ruling out a short-term recovery of auto demand in the core region.

Two months ago Slovakia officials said BMW planned to opened in Europe, with Slovakia one of the top candidates. BMW is the only German automaker that does not have a plant in a low-cost European country and in March the company announced its plans to invest in a new facility somewhere in Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia or the Czech Republic.

In March BMW managed to widen its lead over Audi, thanks to a rise in demand for the X1 SUV and the 3-Series sedan. In March BMW sold 159,195 vehicles, up 4.4%, surpassing the 3% gain set by VW’s Audi. During the first quarter BMW sold 381,404 vehicles, widening the distance from Audi with 11,904 more vehicles.

“The BMW group achieved an all-time high in sales last month and the best first quarter in its history, despite the headwinds present in Europe,” Ian Robertson, BMW sales chief, said in a statement today. “We are aiming for further growth in BMW group worldwide sales in 2013.”

Source: Automotive News Europe