Tag Archive | "Bayerische Motoren Werke AG"

BMW Recalling Vehicles with Takata Air Bags: U.S. Regulators


German automaker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is recalling 420,661 U.S. vehicles due to issues involving Takata Corp 7312.t air bags, U.S. auto safety regulators said on Thursday, reports Reuters.

Last week, Takata said it would double the recall of potentially deadly air bags to nearly 34 million in the United States.

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BMW on Track for FY Record Sales After April Gains


Sales of BMW brand vehicles rose 7.4 percent to while Mini brand volumes edged 0.2 percent lower, according to data published by the company on Tuesday.

“Following on from the best first quarter in the company’s history, we have just reported our most successful April sales ever,” said Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing for the BMW brand, in a statement.

“We are well on course to achieving a record year in 2012,” he added.

By comparison, sales growth at Daimler’s luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz dropped off its double-digit monthly pace, slowing in April to its lowest rate with just 3.6 percent more cars sold over the previous year’s month, according to Reuters.

Much of that was due to an 11 percent decline in volumes in China, which Mercedes blamed on limited product availability due to model changeovers.

Last week, BMW reported first-quarter profits that hit a new record high and surpassed even the most bullish analyst estimates thanks in large part to China, now it’s single biggest market. It also forecast April volumes would rise about 6 percent.

A rising class of affluent Chinese eagerly snap up luxury brands and have a particular affinity for German luxury cars, which amassed an 80 percent share of the premium market. Virtually every second 7 Series limousine, BMW’s top-of-the-line flagship, is sold in China.

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BMW Recalls 1.3 Million Cars Worldwide


BMW AG, the world’s largest premium carmaker, is recalling about 1.3 million cars for repair worldwide due to a possible problem with a battery cable cover in the trunk, the carmaker said on Monday.

The recall affects 5- and 6-Series BMWs built between 2003 and 2010, BMW said in a statement.

“In some remote cases, the battery cable cover inside the boot of these vehicles may be incorrectly mounted,” it said.

“This can result in the electrical system malfunctioning, the vehicle failing to start and, in some cases, to charring or fire,” the company said, adding it was not aware of any accidents or injuries to people due to the problem.

Fewer than 1 percent of the cars BMW has so far inspected for the issue have exhibited the problem, a BMW spokesman said. So far, the spokesman said, there have been no reports of fires, reported Reuters.

BMW said it was writing to car owners. The repair procedure in a BMW partner workshop would take about 30 minutes to an hour and would be free of charge to customers, it added.

The recall affects about 368,000 cars in the United States and about 293,000 cars in Germany, BMW said. Another 109,000 cars are subject to the recall in Britain and about 102,000 in China, BMW said.

In some European countries, the trunk is called the car’s boot.

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BMW Fights Mercedes With New Fuel-Efficient 3-Series Sedan


While Bayerische Motoren Werke AG won the race for the U.S. luxury car market last year, the world’s largest premium automaker is keeping a sharp eye on its rear-view mirror.

Facing increased competition from Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, General Motors Co.’s Cadillac and Volkswagen AG’s Audi, BMW is determined to hold on to its hard-won top position with the arrival of the new entry-level 3-Series sedan in U.S. showrooms tomorrow, reported Bloomberg.

The stakes are high. The success of the 3-Series, first introduced in 1975, has been a key to BMW’s ability to outsell Mercedes last year and capture the U.S. luxury crown from Toyota Motor Corp. Lexus. That may change as a slew of competing entry-level luxury sedans increases the pressure on the new 3- Series, which features more power yet greater gas mileage than earlier versions.

“Ever since we came out with the 3-Series we were very successful, so we’ve been hunted for a long time,” said Ludwig Willisch, chief executive officer of BMW of North America. “We are used to that.”

The new 3-Series is making its debut as Mercedes is moving to surpass BMW. Mercedes was the top-selling U.S. luxury brand last month, its sales surging 24 percent to 20,306 while BMW rose 3.1 percent to 16,405. Lexus, which held the luxury title for 11 years until 2011, is targeting U.S. sales to surge more than 25 percent this year to 250,000.

Mercedes started selling an updated C-Class sedan in September that ended the year up 11 percent, edging out the 3- Series sedan by about 500 sales. Audi plans an updated A4 to arrive in U.S. showrooms around midyear. GM’s Cadillac will introduce its first compact luxury car in about 25 years when the ATS arrives in the third quarter.

Still, BMW executives are confident they can outpace their rivals. Willisch said he expects sales of the new 3-Series to grow more than 10 percent and play a role in keeping BMW’s sales ahead of the luxury pack. The 3-Series was last redesigned in 2005.

The 3-Series has generated $290 billion in revenue and $17 billion in earnings before interest and taxes since 1995, Max Warburton, a London-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, has estimated.

“It is one of the most profitable vehicles ever, thanks to big volumes and good prices,” Warburton said in a Nov. 15 report.

The new 3-Series gets 36 miles per gallon on the highway and 28 mpg in combined highway-city driving with its eight-speed automatic transmission and stop-start technology that cuts the 4-cylinder engine at stoplights, compared with 28 and 22 for the outgoing 6-cylinder version. The entry-level 328i will have 10 more horsepower than its predecessor, the company said.

“It’s a perfect succession” to the previous version, code named the e90, said Satch Carlson, editor of Roundel, an enthusiast magazine for members of the BMW Car Club of America. “If you liked the styling of e90, this is not going to scare you away,” he said. “If you didn’t like it, this is probably going to be more to your liking” because it’s more refined.

The new 3-Series’s styling may face challenges against the Audi A4, Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with IHS Automotive, said in an interview.

“I don’t know if it has the charisma of the Audi A4,” she said.

Audi, which sold 27,517 A4 sedans last year, plans a refreshed version that includes changes to the front grille, including new headlights.

The 2012 3-Series sedan starts at $35,795, $300 more than its predecessor, excluding an $895 destination and handling fee. BMW expects the four-cylinder version will make up more than 50 percent of its 3-Series sales, Willisch said.

“A car of that size and that performance would be something 10 years ago that was unthinkable,” he said. “It has 240 horses under the hood, so it is, as far as performance is concerned, better in every aspect in comparison to the former six-cylinder engine and it is much, much more efficient.”

The 3-Series will get some additional attention in September when the automaker brings out an all-wheel-drive version, which made up about half of the model’s sales last year. A hybrid version is also planned for the around the same time as the all-wheel drive version, with a 300-horsepower, six-cylinder engine. The hybrid will probably make up less than 10 percent of sales, Willisch said.

While skeptical that luxury customers are price-sensitive to gasoline costs, Carlson, thel Roundel editor, said BMW customers care about image.

“They like to be known by the neighbors as conscientious, caring people who want to save the planet,” he said. “Plus, they’re in the luxury field with competitors who are coming out with hybrids for the same reason.”

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BMW Keeps Sales Lead as Top Three Luxury-Car Makers Post Record Deliveries


Bayerische Motoren Werke AG retained its rank as the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles last year as the German manufacturer and its two closest competitors all broke sales records, propelled by demand in China.

BMW-brand deliveries jumped 13 percent in 2011 to 1.38 million cars and sport-utility vehicles, the Munich-based manufacturer said today in a statement. Volkswagen AG’s Audi placed second with a 19 percent gain to 1.3 million deliveries to overtake Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, which posted an 8 percent increase to 1.26 million cars and SUVs, according to Bloomberg.

Chinese sales growth exceeded 30 percent at all three carmakers, with a 37 percent jump in Audi deliveries turning the country into the biggest market for the Ingolstadt, Germany- based company. The manufacturers are introducing models such as Audi’s updated A4 sedan and Mercedes-Benz’s revamped SL roadster at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which is holding its press day today, as BMW seeks to maintain an industry lead that the others have vowed to overtake.

“Given the product momentum and given the regional sales momentum, I see no reason why Audi shouldn’t grow stronger than Mercedes this year, and BMW will also grow stronger,” said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at Credit Suisse who has a “neutral” recommendation on Daimler an “outperform” on BMW and Volkswagen. “China is slowing down, but it is still a market that for the premium makers will grow by about 20 percent this year.”

Group sales at BMW, including its Mini small-car brand and Rolls-Royce super-luxury marque, rose 14 percent to 1.67 million vehicles in 2011. Deliveries in Europe increased 8.5 percent, while sales in the U.S, BMW’s biggest national market, jumped 15 percent.

Including a 4.6 percent increase for the Smart two-seat brand, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars division posted a 7.7 percent gain to 1.36 million deliveries. The Mercedes-Benz marque’s growth was held back by a 1 percent decline in western Europe. Deliveries in the U.S. increased 13 percent.

Growth at Audi contributed to a 14 percent sales jump at Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, which delivered a record 8.16 million cars, SUVs and vans last year. VW’s namesake brand sold 13 percent more vehicles at 5.09 million deliveries, and sales at the van unit jumped 21 percent. The Skoda brand’s deliveries rose 15 percent and the Seat brand’s increased 3.1 percent.

Audi expects its sales gains this year to exceed the global automotive market’s predicted growth of 4 percent, division Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler told reporters in Detroit today. China’s industrywide car sales will probably rise 8 percent, he said.

The VW unit is likely to maintain its second-place luxury- car industry rank until 2014 or 2015, as Mercedes-Benz needs to build up sales of the lower-priced A-Class and B-Class lines, Ellinghorst said.

Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche set a goal last year of returning to the No. 1 spot in luxury-car sales by 2020. BMW overtook Mercedes-Benz as the industry leader in 2005.

Zetsche is “very optimistic” that Mercedes will regain the top ranking and isn’t ruling out beating the deadline, the CEO said today in a Bloomberg Television interview from the Detroit show. The new A-Class, being presented at Detroit, is intended to signal that Mercedes is a “more dynamic” brand, Zetsche said.

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BMW Raises Prices on Redesigned 3 Series By Less Than 1 Percent


BMW of North America will raise prices by less than 1 percent on its top-selling car, the 3-series sedan, when a redesigned version goes on sale in February.

The 2012 328i sedan will start at $35,795, up $320 from the model it replaces, and the 335i will go up $370 to $43,295, the automaker said today. Both prices include an $895 destination charge, reported Automotive News.

BMW said the cars will have more equipment than the models they replace, including a 6.5-inch central display with its traditional iDrive controller for audio, climate and other settings. The cars will also have a USB/iPod interface, an eight-speed automatic transmission, a start/stop function and brake-energy regeneration.

The redesigned versions may give the automaker a boost next year in what could be a bid to retain the title of top-selling luxury brand in the United States. Through October, BMW led Mercedes (excluding Sprinter vans) by about 7,000 sales and had more than a 45,000-unit lead over earthquake-hampered Lexus, the perennial No. 1.

Last year BMW sold 100,910 3-series cars in the United States, significantly beating the second-biggest seller in the compact luxury sedan segment, the Mercedes-Benz C class (58,785) and the Infiniti G (58,143). Through October, BMW sold 78,314 3-series cars.

The 328i sedan will have a new 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder engine, and the 335i will continue to feature BMW’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder powerplant. Both engines are gasoline; a diesel will be added later.

For the first time, the 3 series will be offered in three trim and equipment levels: sport, luxury and modern.

The 2012 3-series sedan will make its U.S. debut at the Detroit auto show in January.

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