Hit by the global financial and economic crisis, the BMW Group that consists of the BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce brands reported a loss before interest and taxes of €55 million in the first quarter of the year. That's compared to an operating profit of €827 million the same period a year ago. The Bavarian automaker said it is almost impossible to predict how the global economy will fare in the near future and that it is still currently not feasible to give reliable earnings forecasts. However, the firm's CEO Norbert Reithofer told reporters that he doesn't expect the market to recover before 2010.
In terms of sales, the total number of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles delivered to customers in the first quarter of the year fell by 21.2% to 277,264 units (first quarter 2008: 351,787 units).
Surprisingly, MINI was hit the worst recording a 24.9% decline to 43,592 units versus 58,054 units sold in the first quarter of 2008. Sales of BMW brand cars dropped by 20.5% to 233,498 units compared to 293,550 units a year ago while Rolls Royce sales remained relatively stable at 174 units, which translates to a 4.9% decrease over the same period in 2008 when the company sold 183 vehicles.