After losing the title of the world’s biggest seller of luxury cars to Mercedes-maker Daimler last year, BMW warned investors it will take a bit longer to get back in the game.
The Munich-based group said Tuesday its third quarter operating profit fell 3 percent as heavy investments in electric cars and self-driving technology weighed on earnings. The operating earnings and margin of its car business came in at €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion) and 8.3 percent, respectively, behind Mercedes-Benz Cars’ figures of €2.1 billion and 9.2 percent.
BMW tried to reassure investors by saying it was on the brink of the greatest rollout of new models in its history and noted that it spent €1.5 billion more on investment, research and development in the first three quarters than in the previous year. Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter said BMW will have to keep up that momentum for at least three years to take the lead in the auto technologies of the future. But until it starts earning real money with electric and autonomous cars, it has to keep up in the conventional car market, where it’s been falling behind in Europe and the US.