BMW CEO setting the field for an upcoming lost battle to remain world No.1 image

The company’s annual financial results conference in Munich held this week brought less good news than expected – including the smallest earnings margin in years seen in the past quarter and conservative profit forecasts for 2015.

But what may have been more important and only perspired if you read among the lines is that BMW Group’s chief executive officer Norbert Reithofer is setting up the field for a losing battle in terms of sales in the near future. BMW’s core luxury brand has maintained a leadership position over the worldwide sales of premium autos for almost a decade – but that could change as rivaling Audi has picked up the pace. “We would like to remain the leading premium automaker, for sale also in terms of volume,” commented Reithofer, adding that if the sales of its British Mini subsidiary would be taken into account, the title would remain in BMW’s possession.

After pledging for years they would commend the No.1 position, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are making do on their promises, as the BMW competitors have pushed harder into previously untapped areas of the compact and subcompact class – with Reithofer pointing out that for example Audi has the A1 model in an area where BMW has no equivalent model (that would be Mini’s territory). Both rivals have been closing the gap lately, while BMW needs to refocus from maintaining market share towards lifting profits and its earnings margins. Audi during the first two months of the year edged above BMW’s core brand sales volume and Mercedes-Benz is consistently posting the fastest delivery increase rate among the trio.

Via Automotive News Europe