BMW sees 2012 premium market growth above 8 percent

Tue Jan 3, 2012 2:44am EST
 
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote) expects the global premium car market to grow more than twice as fast as the overall auto market this year, the German carmaker's finance chief told a German newspaper.

"Around the world, we see market growth of 4 percent and more than 8 percent in the premium market," Friedrich Eichiner told Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Tuesday.

He said he sees the European car market remaining flat this year, while the United States and China offer growth opportunities.

He also said that BMW would be able to cope with some economic headwinds by having workers take off in lieu of overtime worked.

And while the world's biggest premium car maker is committed to the German market, it will produce more and more vehicles where the demand is, in Latin America, India and China.

"We will make a final decision on Brazil in the coming weeks. After that we could look at other sites. It is also possible that we expand existing plants," Eichiner said.

Asked about BMW's investment in carbon fiber maker SGL Group SGCG.DE, Eichiner said the carmaker had no plans to further raise its stake. Last month, SGL said BMW's stake in the company had grown to 15.7 percent.

"There are currently no plans to do that, we feel comfortable with our holding," Eichiner said.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)