‘Things were going well until July, and short-term prospects are not upbeat. We must accept a decline in our overall volume.’
He estimates 2008 will be down 10 per cent – with, significantly, 2009 also posting a 10 per cent decline.
‘But, I am hopeful confidence will return.’ And the maker remains the market-leading premium player, he says.
Kibsgaard also revealed a few stories behind the headline figures. The ‘rays of sunshine,’ he said. It seems that the downsizing trend remains all the rage. 1-Series sales are up 42 per cent this year.
But things are not quite as straightforward as that. 5-Series sales, for example, were even on 08 – bad result? Not when ‘our rivals are down 27 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.’
And the reason why? 520d, revealed Kibsgaard. ‘That’s the answer.’ Because it’s a large executive that averages 55mpg and emits less than 140g/km of CO2.
This makes it tax-friendly, which ensures it is responsible for well over half of all 5-Series sales.
Other surprises include the 7-Series being up 2 per cent (due to run-out tacticals on the old-shape car?) and the 6-Series being up 17 per cent.
And the company’s heartland, the 3-Series? Well, this was down a startling 10 per cent in the first 9 months of 2008.
Kibsgaard has a reason for that, too. In September, a facelifted model was launched. It seems not even BMW is immune from the sufferings of a change-over period.
By RICHARD AUCOCK