Frankfurt: BMW, the world’s biggest premium automaker, forecast a modest rise in car sales this year and confirmed it expected a 2009 pretax profit despite the global economic crisis.
“We fully intend to remain the world’s leading provider of premium vehicles in 2010 and plan to increase sales within the single-digit percentage range to over 1.3 million units,” Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said in a statement on Friday.
BMW, which is pinning special hopes on the latest version of the 5 Series which hits the market in late March, forecast record sales again this year in China, Brazil and India.
It said it expected to return to growth in the United States this year.
The group whose brands also include Mini and Rolls-Royce reiterated it expects a 2009 pretax profit thanks to cost cutting and other efficiency measures that helped offset a 10.4% decline in sales to just under 1.29 million vehicles.
BMW said 2009 group revenue fell 4.7% to €50.68 billion ($71.2 billion). Revenue in its core automobiles segment fell 10.3% to 43.74 billion.
DZ Bank analyst Michael Punzet said in a note to clients the revenue figures beat expectations, but BMW’s comments on the sales outlook struck him as “not really optimistic” and in line with his assumption of a small increase.