BMW third-quarter profit rebounds on China demand for luxury cars

(Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE) on Wednesday said its third-quarter profit rose almost 10% thanks to rebounding Chinese demand for luxury cars and reiterated its outlook, even as a wave of coronavirus infections continues to sweep Europe and the United states.

Just like rival Mercedes (DAIGn.DE), BMW’s quarterly pretax profit recovered in the third quarter, rising 9.6% to 2.46 billion euros ($2.87 billion), lifted by an 8.6% rise in deliveries of luxury cars during the same period.

The automotive EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin rebounded to 6.7% in the third quarter, from minus 10.4% in the second quarter and 6.6% a year earlier, despite a 50% jump in sales of lower-margin electric and hybrid cars during the same period.

BMW-branded vehicles saw a jump of 9.8% in deliveries during the quarter, mainly thanks to a 31% spike in China, which helped offset a 15.7% drop in demand in the United States, where demand was being hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the carmaker said.

BMW reiterated it expected to achieve an EBIT margin of between 0% and 3% for the automotive segment in 2020.

Despite a recovery in demand in some markets, it expects overall deliveries of high-end vehicles as well as group pretax profit to be significantly lower than last year.

($1 = 0.8581 euros)

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan)