Balance Sheet Check

BMW's Lead Narrows

BMW CEO Harald Krueger annual results March 16 2016 Munich Source Bloomberg 56538713
Chief executive Harald Krüger needs to keep an eye on the competition.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s BMW is the world’s most profitable automaker but faces growing problems.

  • Facts


    • Despite record earnings, BMW’s profitability declined in 2015.
    • Currency factors such as the weak euro accounted for about half of the €10 billion rise in sales last year and significantly boosted profits.
    • BMW is increasingly reliant on sales of SUVs while U.S. electric-car rival Tesla is targeting BMW’s core clientele.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Harald Krüger’s first year as chief executive of BMW came during a turbulent time in the auto industry. First the Chinese sales boom petered out, then the diesel emissions scandal at Volkswagen tarnished the entire sector.

But despite these factors, Munich-based luxury automaker BMW chalked up its sixth successive record year in 2015. The dividend payout will exceed €2 billion ($2.28 billion), an unprecedented sum, of which half will go to the Quandt family, which owns a 46.6 percent stake.

BMW, it seems, has found the secret of sustained success. Since 2005, the group has almost doubled its unit sales and quadrupled its dividend. Then as now, 90 percent of revenue comes from its car division, dominated by the core BMW brand, alongside British brands Rolls-Royce and Mini. The remainder comes from financial services and from its motorcycle division which accounts for just 2 percent of sales. All divisions achieved growth in sales and earnings in 2015.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.