BMW is seeing dramatically improved market conditions worldwide driven by increasing demand. The result is a € 2.5 billion BMW profit in the third quarter and free cash flow in excess of € 3 billion in its automotive business. Those are huge numbers given the year that 2020 has been and offers BMW good momentum to pivot into what should be a much more normal 2021.
The BMW Group increased sales volume and net profit in the third quarter of 2020 and, at the nine-month stage, is on track to meet its targets for the full year. The BMW Group was able to benefit during the third quarter from regional upturns in demand as well as from the attractive model portfolio on offer to customers. At the same time, cost efficiency and cash management remain decisive factors in coping with the ongoing impact of the corona pandemic in its varying regional forms to the best possible extent.
“The third-quarter performance underlines the BMW Group’s operational strength and ability to perform well within a challenging environment. We improved Group earnings compared to one year earlier and are therefore firmly on track towards achieving our targets for the full year. We manage our day-to-day operations closely, taking regional fluctuations in demand into account, and can respond to changing market situations at any time,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in Munich on Wednesday. In this way, the Group generated profit before tax in the region of € 2.5 billion in the third quarter. Free cash flow in the Automotive segment was in excess of € 3 billion. “We are shaping the transformation of our industry from a position of strength and are very well positioned for the years to come. At the same time, we are already strategically and technologically aligning the Group for the period after 2025 – including key aspects such as vehicle architectures and planning for vehicle production by plant.”
Investments in the future remain key to innovation leadership
Despite the highly challenging market environment, the BMW Group continues to invest in future-oriented technologies and develop its expertise accordingly. As previously announced, the Group intends to invest more than € 30 billion in research and development by 2025 with the aim of extending its leading edge in terms of innovation.
In the period from January to September, the BMW Group’s research and development expenses totalled € 4,140 million and thus remained at a high level (2019: € 4,247 million; -2.5%).This includes expenses for future electrified models and modular kits for e-vehicles. Capital expenditure on property, plant and equipment as well as on other intangible assets continues to be undertaken on a clearly prioritised, highly focused basis. A total of € 2,375 million (2019: € 3,308 million; -28.2%) was invested during the nine-month period to September.
“Our financial management strategy focuses on high profitability and strict cost management. On this solid basis, we continue to invest in the future of our Group and are financing the transformation with our own resources,” said Nicolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance. “Today, for example, we are benefiting from our strategic focus on the upper luxury segment, a decision we took back in 2016. With the attractive 8 Series models and the BMW X7, we have managed to grow the sales volume of highly profitable models by over 70% since 2018. On the cost side, numerous initiatives are boosting our efficiency with the aim of keeping the Group on course in this challenging environment, both short-term and long-term.”
Additional all-electric models in the pipeline
In addition to the BMW 7 Series, comprehensive electrification will continue to be rolled out across the Group’s model range. Further examples of the “Power of Choice” will be the highly popular BMW X1 and BMW 5 Series, which will also be available with all four drivetrain variants going forward – all-electric, plug-in hybrid, diesel and petrol.
The BMW Group continues to work on significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of its current fleet of new vehicles and is again this year set to meet the stipulated CO2 fleet target for new vehicles registered in Europe in 2020. The figure is around 20% below the requirement stipulated for 2019. The systematic electrification of the model range is making a decisive contribution towards achieving this target.