German luxury automaker BMW's Middle
East sales rose 8.1 per cent to 7,035 last year, its best performance
to date. The figure for 1999 was 6,509.|
Revenues were up a "satisfying" 30 per cent, aided by big
gains posted by the top-of-the-line X5 and 7-series, a senior BMW
official said. The Gulf markets provided the momentum, particularly in
the second half of last year. Together they accounted for 4,837
vehicles. This more than made up for market uncertainties in Egypt,
hit by a credit squeeze, and Lebanon.
The UAE was the largest market with 1,718 cars, followed by Saudi
Arabia (982) and Kuwait (955). "We could have sold another
500 if we had enough shipments coming through. But our plants are
running at full capacity and we were just not able to quench the
demand," regional managing director Robert Bailey-McEwan said.
The carmaker had worldwide sales of 822,181 last year from 751,272 in
1999. Group revenues were 35.36 billion euros. "Even now we are
out of stock of core models in some markets, which is irritating to
our existing and potential customers. We are doing everything we can
to correct the situation.
"Even then, our 2000 sales represent real growth, and not that
brought about by recovery from the declines of 1998 and 1999, as was
the case with some of our competitors. In the luxury end of the
market, our share has grown radically to about 38 per cent now."
In Egypt, he said, "The market's depressed, there is no easy
access to retail finance. We are trying our best to grow our business
there, and are considering the introduction of new models. Lebanon's
market is also depressed."
BMW's recently commissioned CKD (completely knocked down) assembling
plant in the country rolls out about 1,500 units annually. The
facility accommodates four lines with a peak capacity of 3,000.
For the immediate future, the X5 sports activity vehicle, retailing
for more than Dh230,000, is expected to continue its good run and
eventually account for up to 28 per cent of group sales. The X series
is to be further expanded. The newly constituted motorcycle division
is also expected to pull its weight.
Source: Gulf News