Despite Russia wobbles, BMW sticks to 2014 Europe sales forecast

The BMW i3 is unveiled at the Paris Auto Show on Oct 2, 2014, on the first of the two press days. -- PHOTO: AFP
The BMW i3 is unveiled at the Paris Auto Show on Oct 2, 2014, on the first of the two press days. -- PHOTO: AFP

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - BMW's board will meet in a fortnight to assess its forecasts for next year, Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said on Thursday, adding that the carmaker was sticking to its outlook for an increase in global sales this year.

"The management board will meet in 14 days and form a view about how 2015 is set to develop," Mr Reithofer said.

Despite a 27 per cent fall decline in demand for passenger cars in Russia in the past month, BMW's sales in Europe as a whole have been positive in the first nine months of this year, he said.

"We cannot escape this (Russian) market dynamic but positive sales in western European markets are balancing this out," Mr Reithofer told journalists at the Paris auto show.

Prices levels in Europe have improved somewhat but they are still not where BMW expected them to be, Mr Reithofer said. The company has not pared back expectations for sales in Europe next year, he added.

Asked whether BMW might build a factory in Russia - a defensive move to protect against possible Russian retaliation against EU sanctions over the Ukraine situation - Mr Reithofer said: "We are in constructive but confidential discussions, but there is no time pressure."

Mr Reithofer was also asked whether he welcomed the extension of BMW's Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner's contract as that seemed to signal that he too could work past the company's unofficial retirement age of 60.

"I think it is a good decision that Mr Eichinier was extended," Mr Reithofer said, declining to comment further on whether he had aspirations to stay on as CEO beyond 2016 when his contract is set to expire.