BMW chief says the automaker is two years ahead of sales forecasts

Greenville NewsMay 16, 2014 

Germany Earns BMW

The company logo of car manufacturer BMW is pictured on a car during the annual balance press conference in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

KERSTIN JOENSSON — associated press

— BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer gave an upbeat report to shareholders Thursday, detailing plans for a bigger dividend and reiterating the automaker’s goal of selling 2 million vehicles worldwide this year.

Speaking at the company’s annual meeting in Munich, Reithofer said BMW’s board of management and supervisory board were proposing a 4 percent raise in dividends to a record 2.60 euros per common share and 2.62 euros per preferred share.

That would amount to 32 percent of the company’s net income in 2013 and a dividend yield of roughly 3.1 percent for common shares and 4.1 percent for preferred shares.

Reithofer recalled that BMW’s plan in 2007 was to sell 2 million cars by 2016. It’s a goal he said the company would reach this year.

“Between January and March, we sold a total of more than 487,000 vehicles — the most ever in a first quarter,” he said.

“A glance at markets around the world shows that 2014 will be a year of growth opportunities for the automotive industry. Demand is growing in key regions, such as North America and Asia, and the downturn in the European markets seems to be over.”

Reithofer said the Americas “is, and will remain, an important component in our global growth.”

He mentioned the company’s plans, announced in March, to expand BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer to bump annual capacity to 450,000 vehicles per year — a 50 percent rise from current levels.

“This is the equivalent to construction of a completely new plant. The investment of $1 billion between 2014 and 2016,” he said, would make the Greer assembly plant “the largest plant in our international production network.”

As he said in the Upstate in March, Reithofer told shareholders that “the U.S. is our second home.”

BMW common shares were trading at 88.11 euros late Thursday in Frankfurt, down 1.28 percent. Shares have traded between 63.82 euros and 94.39 euros in the past 52 weeks.

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