Numbers released by automaker BMW Tuesday show mainland China poised to overtake the Western Hemisphere in demand for the company’s cars. In the first three quarters of 2014, Chinese consumers bought just 1,300 fewer BMWs, Minis and Rolls-Royce vehicles than consumers in the Americas, or 336,499 vehicles.
And though BMW is concerned about future growth in the world’s largest auto market as its economy cools, the Munich-based company expects the current 18 percent year-over-year sales pace to continue to the end of 2014. This means China has a shot at overtaking the Western Hemisphere in demand for vehicles made by world’s largest luxury car company.
Last year, China edged out the United States to become the company’s largest single market, and deliveries are growing so fast that mainland China is better compared to regions of the world than individual countries.
BMW sees China maintaining its global lead as the world’s largest auto market with passenger car sales (excluding commercial vehicles) touching 18.3 million units, above the 16.4 million units most forecasts estimate for the U.S.
BMW reported third-quarter revenue of $24.59 billion compared to $23.54 billion in the year-ago period. Pre-tax profit increased to $2.53 billion from $2.49 despite declines in emerging markets outside of Asia. Russia’s auto sector is seen contracting a little over 13 percent this year, while Brazil’s will shrink by nearly 12 percent, the company said.
The company also expressed optimism that the worst is over in the 18-country eurozone, which has seen double-dip recessions in some countries and tepid recoveries in others.
It also warned about future growth in China, due to “increasing problems of distressed loans in the financial sector – mostly resulting from overcapacities in the property and industrial sectors, [which] continue to pose a growing risk for the Chinese economy.” BMW expects to top last year’s record global sales of 1.96 million vehicles in 2014. BMW does business in China as BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd., a private joint venture with Brilliance Auto Group based in the Northeastern city of Shenyang, Liaoning province.