BMW reports loss for 2nd quarter but sees rebound in China

FRANKFURT, Germany — German automaker BMW lost 212 million euros ($250 million) in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns cut vehicle sales by a quarter in the April-June period. The company saw a rebound in China, its biggest market.

The net loss compared with a profit of 1.48 billion euros in the same period a year ago.

The company has since restarted all its factories and CEO Oliver Zipse said today he was “cautiously optimistic” about the second half of the year, predicting the automaker would still make some profit selling cars.

“Our swift responsiveness and consistent management strategy enabled us to limit the impact of the corona pandemic” during the first half of the year, he said.

The company said a positive trend was emerging in China, which was hit earlier by the virus but also reopened sooner. Sales there rose 17% in the second quarter compared with the year-earlier quarter.

Sales fell 25% to 485,500 cars under the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. Revenues fell 10% to 43.2 billion euros. The company stayed with its financial forecast for the full year, saying that its worldwide auto deliveries would be “significantly lower” than last year’s, and that its operating margin in its automobile business would be between zero and 3%.

The company had to halt production at its BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd joint venture in Shenyang from the end of January to mid-February, while European plants and its manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina closed down from mid-March to mid-May.

BMW AG also makes motorcycles and has a financial services arm. The company is based in Munich and has 125,600 employees.