BMW eyes U.S. production hike in push for sales record

Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:06am EDT
 
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By Edward Taylor

MUNICH (Reuters) - German luxury carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote) is looking at raising production capacity at its plant in the United States and releasing 12 new models as it chases record sales and a rise in pretax profit of up to 10 percent this year.

BMW's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is being readied to reach an annual production capacity of around 350,000 vehicles, up from 300,000 at the end of 2013. It makes sport utility vehicles including the X3, X4, X5 and X6 models.

"The U.S. will stay a market with great potential for us. This is why we are evaluating the possibility of increasing capacity in the U.S.", Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said at the company's annual results press conference on Wednesday.

Analysts welcomed the outlook from the Munich-based owner of the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW brands.

"We see BMW's confidence as a major positive trigger for the stock," analysts at ISI Global said in a note to clients.

BMW shares were up 6.8 percent at 86.207 euros at 1301 GMT, the biggest gainers on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index

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Reithofer declined to give a figure about future production levels at Spartanburg, or comment on whether BMW is thinking about producing a new model, the X7. The carmaker said it will make a further announcement about its U.S. plans on March 28.   Continued...

 
A BMW logo is illuminated on the grill of a car at the 2009 New York International Auto Show April 9, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson