BMW Group expects its China sales to have double-digital growth this year, said the carmaker's new China chief Karsten Engel.
The growth is expected to be moderate, but still represents a substantial increase in actual sales, he said in a recent interview in Beijing.
The 30-to-40 percent growth of the past few years is unlikely to continue but its business in China still has good prospects compared with many other markets in the world, said Ian Robertson, sales and marketing board member of BMW, who joined Engel in meeting the Chinese press.
Last year, the automaker's sales in China surged by 40.4 percent to 326,444 units, including 303,169 BMW cars and 23,275 Mini vehicles.
Engel was recently appointed the president and CEO of BMW Group Region China, succeeding Christoph Stark who held the position for eight years.
Engel has worked for BMW for about 25 years and was in charge of the carmaker's business in Germany before he came to China.
"We will continue to grow our local production and introduce more products into China," he said.
"I can leverage my network at BMW for the Chinese market."
BMW now produces the 3 Series, 5 Series and the X1 at its joint venture in Shenyang, Liaoning province with local partner Brilliance Auto. It has two plants in the northeastern city. Their combined annual capacity could reach 300,000 units by the end of this year.
Robertson said that a program to create a new, local brand at the joint venture is well on track and it will come to fruition in one or two months.
He added that BMW plans to launch its i3 all-electric car in China during the first half of 2014.
By the end of last year, the company had about 360 dealerships in China. It plans to add 50 new outlets this year.
Engel said that the company will help improve competitiveness of its dealer partners as dealership profits on new car sales shrink. After-sales services, the used car business and auto financing will bring huge opportunities, he said.
There are now about 1 million BMW cars on the road in China, more than half of them less than two years old, Engel said. Ever-increasing numbers of BMW cars in China will bring stable and considerable businesses to the dealers across the country, he said. (From China Daily)