BMW sold more cars than ever in the first half, making a profit of 7.6 billion euros. The Munich-based company took advantage of strong global demand, its expanded lineup of highly profitable luxury cars and even semiconductor supply bottlenecks: until recently it had fewer issues with this. than competition and was thus able to keep prices high. But that is about to change.
Missing microchips and rising commodity prices are “serious risks to our future business development,” said CEO Oliver Zipse. It recently hit European factories, and now part of the production in China only works with one shift. CFO Nicolas Peter pointed out that without the bottlenecks BMW could probably sell 70,000 to 90,000 more cars this year. For the year as a whole, BMW is therefore targeting sales at the 2019 level; in the automotive division, almost 9% of sales are expected to remain in the form of operating profit. In the first half of the year, BMW even reached 13%. However, the prognosis assumes that neither the corona pandemic nor the semiconductor shortage will worsen significantly and that commodity prices will remain stable, Peter said.
In the first half of the year, the Munich-based company sold 1.34 million cars and is ahead of Mercedes-Benz for the first time in a long time. Sales increased 28% to 55.4 billion euros compared to the same period of the previous year, characterized by the corona pandemic. BMW also benefited from a slight sanction in the context of an antitrust procedure: as a European fine of 373 million euros imposed in July turned out to be much lower than feared, the group was able to unblock around one billion euros in provisions. Given the looming problems in the coming months, investors have consistently sold BMW shares, which as the DAX’s lowest value fell 5.2%.
When it comes to climate protection, Zipse has targeted the competition: “The more robust it is advertised, the more the fine print is often. Mercedes-Benz wants to become fully electric by 2030, “where market conditions allow”, and Audi no longer wants to build cars with heat engines after 2033, except in China. BMW, on the other hand, will offer electric cars, combustion cars and hydrogen cars in the different countries, depending on political requirements, charging network and customer requirements, and thus “gain market share”, Zipse said. When it comes to battery cells, too, the Munich-based company is following a different path than VW and Daimler, which are planning their own giant factories. BMW will open a pilot line next year and observe the market, but has good partners and currently does not see the need to set up a large production plant on its own.