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BMW China venture's vehicle sales to rise 20 percent in 2017

By Raffaele Huang

By Raffaele Huang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Sales for German automaker BMW AG's <BMWG.DE> China venture are expected to rise at least 20 percent year-on-year in 2017, the premium automaker's local joint venture partner said on Friday.

The full-year estimate is based on a 44 percent year-on-year rise in the first two months of 2017, Chairman Wu Xiaoan of Brilliance China Automotive Holdings <1114.HK>, BMW's 50-50 joint venture partner, told reporters in Hong Kong.

Global automakers must form local JVs in order to manufacture cars in China.

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In 2017, premium vehicle sales are predicted to outperform China's overall auto market, which is expected to slow as a tax cut on small-engined cars is rolled back and the economy continues to slow.

China's auto market, the world's largest, is entering a "tiny growth era", Brilliance Chief Executive Qi Yumin said at the briefing. He estimated the overall market would grow more than 5 percent.

BMW, whose China sales grew 11.3 percent last year, is the country's second-largest premium brand after Volkswagen AG's <VOWG_p.DE> Audi AG and is racing to stay ahead of third-place Daimler's <DAIGn.DE> Mercedes-Benz, which recorded 26.6 percent growth in 2016 China sales thanks to a fresher model lineup.

(Reporting by Raffaele Huang; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Susan Thomas)

 
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