Dr. Norbert Reithofer doesn't believe in authoritarianism. His natural authority makes all the more impression. While other company bosses like to warm themselves often in the light and in the opinion of the Chancellor, Reithofer relies on the power of good arguments. Often against the mainstream of Berlin and Brussels politics.
The CEO, who was often underestimated at the beginning of his career because of his reserved and polite manner, has undoubtedly steered the BMW Group to a height that is second to none. Assertive and willing to assert himself, without fear of conflicts in his own house, he enjoys the absolute trust of the Quandt and Klatten family of major shareholders. Only those who know how many obstacles they have to overcome can really measure their performance. Maybe he will retire as the most successful BMW boss in 2016. Perhaps he will even be granted the second place after Eberhard v. Responsibility for Kuenheim beyond the age limit of 60 years applicable at BMW. "The shareholders cannot currently ask for a better chairman of the board," says one manager (of the competition!). And it certainly means honestly.
In his speech on the half-year balance sheet, Reithofer's pride and delight at what he had achieved flashed again clearly between the lines. And the balance of the first half of 2014 signals that the two competitors Audi and Mercedes-Benz will not have an easy time catching up with BMW in the most important key figures. Not to mention overtaking.
In the second quarter, the BMW Group reported a 27 percent increase in profits to 1,8 billion euros. The BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands delivered 533.000 vehicles in the second quarter (previous year 506.000). It is striking that BMW sells more large and expensive vehicles than the competition. For example, the SUV X5 produced in Spartanburg in America is a hit, of which 68.000 were sold by the end of June, 30 percent more than in the previous year. With a return on sales of 11,7 percent, which increased by two percentage points, BMW puts the crown on the number of pieces. As a comparison: Audi achieved just under ten percent in the second quarter, Daimler just under eight percent.
The race for the top of the three premium brands is likely to remain exciting because everyone has declared that they will be the largest premium manufacturer in the world by 2020 at the latest. So BMW will not and will not be able to rest on the laurels of the latest figures. "We stay at the top," Reithofer promises again and again. And has been right to this day. The pursuers still have to prove that they make it to the top (for Mercedes: again).
No other automobile company seems to have mastered the balancing act demanded on the markets between high-performance vehicles on the one hand and European-ecological border legislation and credible sustainability standards as Munichers. With their actually technically implemented slogan "Efficient Dynamics", they have created an image of ecological responsibility that makes environmentalists in despair despair. BMW is selling models with high engine output and corresponding consumption with increasing success. Especially in the less strictly regulated markets such as the USA and China. The Munich-based company's skill at complying with the average limit values in Europe, at the same time selling powerful vehicles around the world and consistently relying on electromobility is impressive. Actually, you can't do so much right at once like at the moment BMW.
The fact that Norbert Reithofer now sees limits and criticizes European legislation makes it clear that it will be increasingly difficult to remain successful. The questions on EU policy that were rhetorically raised by Reithofer on Tuesday are warnings wrapped in pink wrapping paper. If European auto industry policy continues to make life difficult, it will endanger "a pillar of the European economy". With XNUMX million jobs, the auto industry is the largest employer in the EU.
Reithofer criticizes that on the one hand the EU has the strictest CO2-Words formulated the requirements of the world, but on the other hand, there are only little incentives to promote electric vehicles, for example. "We should take the opportunity to be the technological leader in Europe in the transition to sustainable mobility," said Reithofer. The BMW boss complains that the permanent tension between ecological, social and industrial-political issues has to be brought back into balance. "It's about the right balance."
Reithofer is painting a pleasing picture for 2014. The BMW Group plans to sell more than two million vehicles this year, achieve consolidated earnings before taxes well above the previous year, and achieve an EBIT margin in the automotive segment of eight to ten percent.
Electromobility: The order situation at BMW i is excellent overall. So far 5400 i3 have been registered, the i8 is in high demand, Reithofer said, without giving exact numbers. Production should be expanded significantly in Europe, Asia and America. This also to compensate for currency fluctuations. In the United States alone, a billion US dollars are to be invested by 2016 and the capacity will be expanded to 450.000 vehicles.
Norbert Reithofer's positive outlook sounded like memories of the future that have to be achieved. "How is our business developing? What do our customers want? What requirements result from the development of our environment? If we master all of this, we will open up new growth opportunities and secure our long-term success, ”Reithofer concluded optimistically. Beneficially, there was no talk of necessary austerity measures.