China car market still has 'substantial' potential: BMW

15th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Chinese automobile market remains an area with growth potential despite the current slowdown, German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW said on Tuesday.

"Despite the current development, China still has substantial growth potential," BMW's chief financial officer Friedrich Eichiner told journalists on the sidelines of the IAA motor show.

"We believe that China will continue to develop positively in the long term," he said.

Eichiner stepped in at short notice to brief journalists after the carmaker's chief executive Harald Krueger was suddenly taken ill at the IAA motor show, which opened its doors to the world's media on Tuesday, and will open to the general public on Saturday.

Earlier this summer, BMW had warned that the situation in China could pose a "risk" to its financial targets for this year.

"But we have no reason at the moment to abandon our goals," Eichiner said.

After long years of double-digit growth "the process of normalisation in China has arrived substantially earlier than we'd expected," he continued.

"We knew it couldn't go on for ever. It was clear that we wouldn't always see high double-digit growth."

The main issue now was how long the period of consolidation would last, Eichiner said.

"The Chinese government has said that the consolidation is already over. But I must say, we're not seeing that in our numbers," even if BMW is currently selling more cars in China than it did last year, he added.

Eichiner said BMW was currently "in contact" with Japanese carmaker Toyota with a view to strengthen their cooperation.

"The two companies are interested in the idea of intensifying their collaboration," Eichiner said, but the talks had not yet produced any concrete projects.

BMW and Toyota are currently cooperating in the area of fuel cell technology.

© 2015 AFP

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