By Claire Ferris-Lay
Carmaker BMW says Mini is its fastest-selling car in the region, sees new growth in 2012
Mini sales in the Middle East have increased 86 percent in the last year, making it the fastest selling car in the region for parent company, BMW Group, its regional managing director has told Arabian Business.
Sales across the whole group have increased 11 percent year to date and are expected grow “substantially” in 2012, said Dr Joerg Breuer.
“[We have seen] quite a substantial increase. Mini is the fastest growing premium brand here in the Middle East, year to date we’ve sold almost 11,000 cars, which is an 86 percent growth compared to last year. Mini has become very popular, particularly in the UAE, which is our biggest market for Mini,” he said.
“We are also posting double digit here in the Middle East for the BMW Group. We are currently up 11 percent [year to date] and we are intending to keep that momentum until the end of the year. We are also expecting to increase our volumes this year substantially over last year,” he added.
The Munich-based firm, which also makes Rolls-Royce cars, reaffirmed its 2011 and 2012 sales targets on Nov 3 on the back of increased demand in China. The automaker posted an 11.9 percent increase in profits in the third quarter, down from 14.4 percent in the second quarter.
Germany’s top-selling premium carmaker expects to sell more than 1.6 million vehicles this year, a new record, but is preparing a contingency plan in case of a global slowdown, its chief financial officer said.
“On the whole we’re confident but ... also aware of the risks. We expect to see continued volatility due to the high level of national debt, the euro crisis and rising inflation,” said Friedrich Eichiner.
“We will remain vigilant. We have explored various scenarios and made the necessary preparations,” he added.
US safety regulators on Wednesday opened an investigation into an estimated 36,000 Minis after receiving 12 complaints about engine compartment fires. The probe includes BMW AG's Mini Cooper S cars from model years 2007 and 2008 sold in the United States.
There are no concerns for Minis sold in the Middle East, said Dr Breuer. “This issue is not a concern for us here but whatever comes up here on the products we proactively go out to the customers informing them if something happens here on the model,” he said.