PressClub Italia · Article.
BMW Group sets strategic course for future
20.03.2019 Comunicati Stampa
Krüger: "Systematically working to ensure operational excellence" +++ Operating efficiency: Performance > NEXT offers potential efficiencies in excess of € 12 billion by 2022 +++ Upfront expenditure expected to remain high +++ New structure for sales divisions +++ EBIT margin of 8 to 10 per cent remains ambition +++ Challenges influence 2019 outlook +++
Marco Di Gregorio
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Munich. On its way towards the mobility of the future, the BMW Group is taking strategic steps to enhance its operating performance on a sustainable basis. As well as systematically implementing its strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, the company is also focusing on faster processes, leaner structures and therefore greater efficiency. In view of the many challenges currently facing the automotive sector, the BMW Group is ensuring it maintains its financial strength to influence and decisively shape individual premium mobility moving into the next decade, just as it has over the past ten years.
"After three years of Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, we remain firmly on course, having established a strong position as one of the world's top providers of e-mobility. We lead the European market and will soon go into series production of our fifth generation of electric drivetrain systems. We’re significantly expanding our presence in the upper luxury class. Our first highly automated vehicle will become available in 2021 and we are already now paving the way for the development of the next generation of groundbreaking technology. In the field of mobility services, we are joining forces with Daimler AG to create even greater momentum," said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in Munich on Wednesday. "We need to work systematically on our operational excellence in order to leverage these strategic advances and ensure our ability to use our own underlying strength to help shape the sector’s transformation going forward," he added.
To compensate for the increasing volume of upfront expenditure needed to drive the mobility of the future, the BMW Group is enhancing its business performance by comprehensively rolling out an array of new models. In the upper luxury class, for instance, the new BMW 8 Series (both the Coupé and the Convertible) and the new BMW X7 have already made their debut. The fully revamped BMW 7 Series is on its way to dealerships and will be flanked by the launch of the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé in the further course of this year. The Group's next step will be to significantly rejuvenate and expand its range in the compact class. With this aim in mind, the next generation BMW 1 Series will be launched in autumn 2019 and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, a new and highly emotive model, will be added to the compact segment in spring 2020 with a view to attracting new customers.
High potential for boosting efficiency with Performance > NEXT
Since 2017, the BMW Group has also worked systematically with Performance > NEXT to improve structural efficiency along the entire value chain. In this respect, numerous decisions have either been taken or are already being implemented. In view of the growing challenges and demands on resources, the Group intends to expand and intensify these efforts. By the end of 2022, it expects to leverage potential efficiencies totalling more than 12 billion euros. Many of the measures aimed at reducing product complexity will then come to full fruition in the following years.
"Our industry is witnessing rapid transformation. In this environment, a sustained high level of profitability is crucial if we are to continue driving change," said Nicolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance. "In view of the numerous additional factors negatively impacting earnings, we began to introduce countermeasures at an early stage and have taken a number of far-reaching decisions. Discipline and a clear focus on rigorous implementation are essential as we aim to emerge from these challenging times stronger than ever."
Performance > NEXT will also benefit from the fact that processes can be significantly accelerated by the new opportunities digitalisation offers. For instance, development times for new vehicle models will be reduced by as much as one third. Among other savings, digital simulations and virtual validation could eliminate the need for some 2,500 expensive prototype vehicles by the year 2024.
The BMW Group continues to recruit skilled workers and IT specialists on a selective basis to engage in forward-looking projects such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and electric mobility. Nevertheless, the target for 2019 is to keep the workforce at the previous year's level. Compared to earlier years, the scale of natural attrition in the workforce has been exacerbated by demographic factors (including the baby boomer phenomenon), a situation which means the BMW Group can focus even more intensively on issues that will shape the future and increase efficiency. In addition, with effect from 1 April 2019 the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce automotive brands will be combined within a single sales division, clearly signalling a move towards even leaner processes and more efficient structures throughout the company.
On the product side, from 2021 onwards, up to 50 per cent of today's drivetrain variants will be eliminated in the transition to more sophisticated and flexible vehicle architectures. This approach will also enable the BMW Group to focus on the products most in demand. At model level, no successor will be developed for the current generation of the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. Moreover, the model portfolio is regularly assessed with a view to identifying additional potential to reduce complexity. Synergy and efficiency opportunities in indirect purchasing as well as in materials and production costs are also being leveraged.
Upfront expenditure set to remain high
The BMW Group intends to implement the measures outlined above to offset the ongoing high level of upfront expenditure required to embrace the mobility of the future. Substantial volumes of future-oriented expenditure are again planned for 2019.
At € 5,029 million, capital expenditure in 2018 was 7.3% above the previous year’s high level (€ 4,688 million). The Capex ratio rose to 5.2% (2017: 4.8%). Investments included work connected with the introduction of new models in the Spartanburg, Dingolfing and Munich plants and the building of the Group’s plant in Mexico. As planned, research and development expenses in 2018 were significantly higher than in the previous year and totalled € 6,890 million (2017: € 6,108 million; +12.8%). R&D expenditure for the year was therefore equivalent to 7.1% of Group revenues (2017: 6.2%). In addition to ramping up the roll-out of new models, the focus is also on future-oriented topics such as autonomous driving and the systematic expansion of electric mobility.
Pioneer systematically expands e-mobility product range
With more than 350,000 units (over 130,000 fully electric vehicles and more than 220,000 plug-in hybrids) delivered to customers up to the end of 2018, the BMW Group is already a leading supplier of electrified vehicles and expects to have more than half a million units on the roads by the end of the year. At the beginning of March, the new plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 3 Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW X5 and BMW X3, which now come with extended electric range, were showcased at the Geneva Motor Show. By the end of next year, the BMW Group will have more than ten new or revised models equipped with fourth-generation electric drivetrain technology ("Gen 4") on the roads.
By the end of 2019, these will include the all-electric MINI Electric manufactured at the Oxford plant and, from 2020, the BMW iX3, which will be produced for the world market in Shenyang, China. Together with the pioneering BMW i3, the BMW i4 and the BMW iNEXT, the Group will have five all-electric models on the market by 2021 and the number is scheduled to rise to at least twelve models by 2025. Including the rapidly growing range of plug-in hybrids, the BMW Group’s product portfolio will then comprise at least 25 electrified models.
This wide range of electrified models on offer will be made possible by highly flexible vehicle architectures and an equally agile global production system. Going forward, the BMW Group will be capable of manufacturing models with all-electric (BEV), hybrid-electric (PHEV) and conventional (ICE) drivetrains on one production line. The ability to integrate e-mobility in its production network will enable the BMW Group to respond even more flexibly as demand grows.
The BMW Group is currently developing the fifth generation of its electric drivetrain, in which the interplay of electric motor, transmission, power electronics and battery will be further optimised. Integrating the electric motor, the transmission and power electronics also plays a role in cutting costs. Furthermore, the electric motor does not require rare earths, enabling the BMW Group to reduce its dependence on their availability. The fifth generation of the Group's electric drivetrain technology will be installed for the first time in the BMW iX3 from 2020.
Cooperation for next generation of autonomous driving
The BMW Group believes long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are key to advancing the industrialisation of autonomous driving. As early as 2016, the BMW Group established a non-exclusive platform with technology specialists, suppliers and OEMs to take the technology to series maturity and has now successfully consolidated work in this area at the Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleißheim, near Munich. The generation of technologies currently under development will go into series production as Level 3 automation in the BMW iNEXT in 2021, this vehicle will also be Level 4-enabled for pilot projects.
The BMW Group has joined forces with Daimler AG to advance the development of the next generation of technologies needed for autonomous driving. At the end of February, the two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop the technologies that are vital for future mobility. Initially, the focus will be on advancing the development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and parking features (in each case up to SAE Level 4).
The BMW Group and Daimler AG view their partnership as a long-term, strategic cooperation and aim to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade. Combining the outstanding expertise of the two companies will boost their joint innovative strength. Moreover, it will both accelerate and streamline the development of future technology generations. The development of current-generation technologies and the ongoing collaborations both companies have in this field will remain unaffected and continue as planned. Both parties will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers that could contribute to the success of the platform.
Major investments in joint venture for mobility services
The BMW Group and Daimler AG are also working together in the field of mobility services, creating a new global player that provides sustainable urban mobility for its customers. The two companies are investing more than one billion euros to develop and more closely intermesh their offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport. The cooperation comprises five joint ventures: REACH NOW (multimodal), CHARGE NOW (charging), FREE NOW (ride-hailing), PARK NOW (parking) and SHARE NOW (car-sharing).
The common vision is clear: the five services will increasingly merge to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and also interconnect with other modes of transport. This service portfolio will be a key cornerstone in the BMW Group’s strategy as a mobility provider going forward. The cooperation represents the ideal approach for maximising opportunities in a growing market, while jointly shouldering the unavoidable cost of investment.
Challenging conditions in the financial year 2018
In terms of its core business, the BMW Group had always expected 2018 to be a challenging year. Compared with 2017, alongside additional upfront expenditure for the mobility of the future, a high three-digit million euro negative impact from exchange-rate and raw materials price developments had been factored into expected earnings for the year. As announced on 25 September 2018, several additional factors dampened business performance in the third quarter. Unlike many of our competitors, the BMW Group implemented the requirements of the WLTP regulations early. The industry-wide shift to the new WLTP test cycle resulted in considerable supply distortions in Europe and unexpectedly intense competition, given that numerous competitor models which had not yet gained WLTP certification were registered before the 1 September deadline. Within the framework of its flexible production and sales strategy, the BMW Group responded to the situation by reducing its volume planning to focus on earnings quality. At the same time, increased statutory and non-statutory warranty measures resulted in significantly higher additions to provisions in the Automotive segment. Ongoing international trade conflicts also served to exacerbate the market situation and feed uncertainty. These circumstances resulted in greater-than-expected distortions in demand and unexpected pressure on pricing in several markets.
Nevertheless, deliveries of the BMW Group’s three premium automotive brands (BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce) grew by 1.1% to a new record figure of 2,490,664 units in 2018 (2017: 2,463,526 units). At € 97,480 million, Group revenues were at the previous year’s level (2017: € 98,282 million: -0.8%). Adjusted for currency factors, they increased by 1.2%. Due to the various adverse aspects arising in the third quarter, combined with high levels of upfront expenditure for research and development, profit before financial result was € 9,121 million (2017: € 9,899 million; -7.9%). At € 9,815 million, Group profit before tax in 2018 was moderately down on the previous year, but nevertheless the second-best result ever recorded in the company's history (2017: € 10,675 million; -8.1%). At 10.1% (2017: 10.9%), the return on sales before tax (EBT margin) exceeded the target value of ten percent.
Group net profit amounted to € 7,207 million (2017: € 8,675 million; -16.9%). In the previous year, net profit was exceptionally high due to valuation effects of around € 1 billion arising in connection with the US tax reform. Despite very challenging conditions, the Automotive segment generated free cash flow of € 2,713 million in 2018 (2017: € 4,459 million).
Based on the annual financial statement, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose payment of a dividend of € 3.50 per share of common stock and € 3.52 per share of preferred stock at the Annual General Meeting on 16 May 2019. This is the second highest payout in the company's history. The total dividend payment will amount to € 2.3 billion, or 32.0% of net profit (previous year: 30.3%3).
Automotive segment exposed to volatile business conditions
At € 85,846 million, Automotive segment revenues were at a similar level to the previous year (2017: € 85,742 million; +0.1%). Influenced by the factors referred to above and combined with high levels of upfront expenditure for research and development, EBIT was € 6,182 million (2017: € 7,888 million; ‑21.6%). Due to various adverse factors, the EBIT margin came in at 7.2% (2017: 9.2%). Profit before tax amounted to € 6,977 million (2017: € 8,717 million; ‑20.0%).
A total of 2,125,026 BMW brand vehicles were delivered to customers worldwide (2017: 2,088,283 units; +1.8%). As well as the BMW 5 Series (382,753 units; +10.2%), the BMW X family in particular benefited from strong demand during 2018, with worldwide deliveries up significantly on the previous year to 792,605 units (+12.1%). The BMW X3 made an important contribution to this performance, with deliveries up by more than one third to 201,637 units (+37.7%).
Worldwide deliveries of MINI brand vehicles during the twelve-month period totalled 361,531 units (2017: 371,388 units; -2.8%). The MINI Countryman recorded double-digit growth with 99,750 units (+17.5%). Almost every seventh MINI Countryman was a plug-in hybrid (13.3%).
In 2018, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars achieved its best sales result in over 100 years of corporate history with 4,107 deliveries worldwide (2017: 3,362 units; +22.2%). The Rolls-Royce Phantom contributed substantially to this performance.
While deliveries of the BMW Group’s three automotive brands in Europe remained at the previous year's high level (1,098,523; -0.3%), the Americas (457,715 units; +1.5%) and Asia (876,614 units; +3.3%) regions recorded slight growth. In China, volumes grew significantly as local production of the new BMW X3 was ramped up in the second half of the year. A total of 640,803 BMW Group vehicles were delivered to customers in the course of 2018 (+7.7%).
Motorcycles segment revises model range
BMW Motorrad revised its 2018 product range on a massive scale, adding nine new models. Production adjustments necessary during the ramp-up phase had a negative impact on deliveries during the first half of the year. Over the full year, 165,566 BMW motorcycles and maxi-scooters were delivered to customers (2017: 164,153 units; +0.9%).
Revenues totalled € 2,173 million (2017: € 2,272 million; -4.4%). Profit before financial result came in at € 175 million (2017: € 207 million; -15.5%), corresponding to a segment EBIT margin of 8.1% (2017: 9.1%). Profit before tax amounted to € 169 million (2017: € 205 million; -17.6%).
Financial Services segment records contract portfolio growth
The Financial Services segment continued to perform well in 2018. In total, 1,908,640 new contracts were signed with retail customers in 2018 (2017: 1,828,604; +4.4%). The contract portfolio with retail customers comprised 5,708,032 contracts at 31 December 2018 (31 December 2017: 5,380,785 contracts; +6.1%). Segment revenues totalled € 28,165 million (2017: € 27,567 million; +2.2%). Profit before tax amounted to € 2,161 million (2017: € 2,207 million; -2.1%).
Slight increase in workforce
The BMW Group’s workforce comprised 134,682 employees at 31 December 2018, 3.7% more than at the end of 2017. The Group continues to recruit skilled staff and IT specialists in future-oriented areas such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and electric mobility.
Business development in 2019 influenced by challenging environment
The BMW Group sets itself ambitious targets, even in politically and economically turbulent times. With its young product portfolio, further rejuvenated by new models such as the BMW X7 and the seventh generation of the BMW 3 Series, the Group aims to remain the world’s leading manufacturer in the premium segment, underpinned by growth in all major sales regions. In view of the various model changes currently in progress, business is expected to develop more strongly in the second half of the year.
In 2019, the BMW Group will continue to invest substantial amounts in new technologies and the mobility of the future. However, costs are also being driven up in other areas, including the significantly higher cost of complying with stricter CO2 legislation. Against this background, rising manufacturing costs are likely to have a dampening effect on earnings. Moreover, unfavourable currency factors and higher raw materials prices are expected to have a medium to high three-digit million negative impact. At the same time, the ongoing issue of international trade conflicts remains a source of uncertainty.
Taking all these factors into consideration, the BMW Group is confident of its ability to achieve volume growth in the Automotive segment, where it is targeting a slight increase in the number of deliveries to customers in 2019. Within a stable business environment, an EBIT margin in the range of 8 to 10% remains the ambition for the BMW Group. However, its ability to influence underlying conditions is limited. Based on the prevailing conditions described above, an EBIT margin of 6 to 8% is forecast for the Automotive segment in 2019.
The Motorcycles segment is forecast to achieve a solid increase in deliveries to customers thanks to its rejuvenated model range. As in 2018, the EBIT margin is expected to be within the target range of 8 to 10%. For its Financial Services segment, the BMW Group forecasts a return on equity at the previous year's level, and therefore above the underlying target of 14%.
In addition to the various negative influences described above, the fact that some positive valuation effects recorded in 2018 will not be repeated in 2019 will result in a significant decline in the Group’s financial result. Group profit before tax is therefore also expected to be well below the previous year's level.
Forecasts for the current year are based on the assumption that worldwide economic and political conditions will not change significantly. Any deterioration in conditions could have a negative impact on the outlook.
The BMW Group will vigorously continue to implement measures necessary to promote growth, improved performance and efficiency, thereby creating the freedom to enable it to shape the future and secure its own competitiveness going forward. Thanks to its operational and financial strength, the BMW Group is in an excellent position to shape the current transformation of the automotive sector and further develop its leading role in the industry.
The BMW Group – an Overview
Change in %
Deliveries to customers
Workforce 1 (compared to 31.12.2017)
EBIT margin Automotive segment 3
-2.0 % pts
EBIT margin Motorcycles segment 3
-1.0 % pts
EBT margin BMW Group 3
-0.8 % pts
Profit before financial result (EBIT) 3
Profit before tax (EBT) 3
Income taxes 3
Net profit for the year 3.4
Earnings per share 2.3
1 Excluding dormant employment contracts, employees in the work and non-work phases of pre-retirement part-time working arrangements and low wage earners
2 Earnings per share of common stock/preferred stock
3 Prior year figures adjusted due to first-time application of revised IAS 15, see note  to the Group Financial Statements
4 Value for 2018 (including a loss from discontinued operations of € 33 million)
The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2018, the BMW Group sold over 2,490,000 passenger vehicles and more than 165,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2018 was € 9.815 billion on revenues amounting to € 97.480 billion. As of 31 December 2018, the BMW Group had a workforce of 134,682 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.