German luxury carmaker BMW said Wednesday that its third-quarter net profit grew, beating expectations, as demand recovered from the crippling lockdowns of the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Munich-based company posted a net profit of 1.8 billion euros, up from 1.5 billion euros in the same period last year as it “recovered from the previously massive impact of the pandemic,” BMW said in a statement.
Sales were down 1.4 per cent to 26.3 billion euros.
Analysts had predicted third-quarter net profit of 1.5 billion euros on sales at 26.1 billion euros, according to the FactSet financial information service.
BMW suffered its first loss in 10 years in the second quarter as the health crisis shuttered showrooms, closed factories and ravaged demand but the auto market then bounced back strongly as restrictions were eased.
But after a better third quarter, “the pandemic is now clearly regaining momentum”, BMW said, adding that “a high level of uncertainty remains”.
The company said it still expected to see a significant fall in earnings and car sales for full-year 2020.
The overall performance, however “underlines BMW’s operational strength and ability to perform well within a challenging environment” chief executive Oliver Zipse said in a statement.
Operating profit at BMW’s automobiles segment alone, which includes the Mini and Rolls-Royce marques, fell 2.5 per cent to 1.5 billion euros with more than 675,000 cars delivered worldwide in the third quarter.
BMW’s workforce is around 2,000 below the previous year’s level as it puts all new recruitment under “stringent critical review”, with demand in all its key markets “significantly reduced in light of the coronavirus pandemic”, it said.
The automaker is also undergoing a transformation as it races to catch up with EU emissions requirements.
BMW said it will invest more than 30 billion euros in research and development by 2025, including 4.2 billion euros in the nine months to September this year.
“We are shaping the transformation of our industry from a position of strength and are very well positioned for the years to come,” Zipse said.
Electric cars will be made at all German car plants by 2022, including the BMW i3, the Mini Cooper SE and the next generation of the 7 Series, BMW added.