BMW’s Profit Drops as it Invests to Keep Sales Lead image

BWM report a drop in profit as it continues to make heavy investments to keep ahead of rival Audi in the race for sales lead.

In 2012 BMW’s auto division operating profit dropped to 10.9%, down from 11.8% in 2011, according to the automaker, while Audi has an 11% margin. BMW will introduce the 4-Series coupe and the 3-Series GT, also preparing to roll out the automaker’s first EV, the i3 city vehicle. With this expansion BMW plans to secure for the third consecutive year its place as top seller. After the first two months of the year BMW leads Audi with only 407 vehicles sold.

“Economic conditions are likely to remain challenging in many markets,” Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said in the statement. “The BMW group is preparing for tomorrow’s technological challenges and is setting the course for further growth and profitability.”

BMW recently appointed former Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer to its management board, with the responsibility to oversee the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcycle brands and after-sales operations. In 2012 BMW’s earnings before interest and taxes increased 3.5% to 8.3 billion euro, after an increase of 14% during the fourth quarter.