BMW confirms outlook, but says rest of 2021 to be volatile By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A staff member stands near a BMW M3 GT2 vehicle displayed at the BMW booth during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China April 19, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) -BMW reiterated its full-year profit margin outlook on Friday, but said that it expected the rest of the year to remain volatile and that rising raw material costs could hurt earnings moving forward.

The German carmaker said that sales of its electrified vehicle models more than doubled in the first quarter, when it also benefited from higher prices and strong demand in China.

BMW has previously reported a 370% jump in pre-tax profit as it bounced back more strongly than expected from a pandemic-ravaged first quarter last year.

Sales in China almost doubled in the first quarter versus the same period in 2020, the company said.

“The first quarter shows that our global business model is a successful one, even in times of crisis,” Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said in a statement. “We remain firmly on track for continued sustainable, profitable growth.”

Most of the auto industry has been hit by a global semiconductor chip shortage, shuttering many assembly plants, driving down inventories and pushing up prices for both new and used vehicles.

BMW said that its first-quarter results also received a boost from the sale of previously leased vehicles, in particular in the U.S. market.

The carmaker said that it expects to have 2 million fully-electric cars on the road by 2025.

BMW said it expects its pre-tax margin to come in at the upper end of its previous forecast of between 6% and 8%.

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