BMW CEO says Europe needs at least 5 years to solve debt crisis

BERLIN Thu May 2, 2013 5:01am EDT

BERLIN May 2 (Reuters) - German premium automaker BMW expects European governments to need at least five more years to overcome causes of the region's protracted debt crisis.

"I don't think that's a pessimistic assumption," Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said on Thursday during a conference call to discuss first-quarter results.

The business environment in Europe "is becoming ever more uncertain and volatile", the CEO said, ruling out a short-term recovery of auto demand in the core region.

Global vehicle sales of the largest luxury-car manufacturer rose in the "medium single digits" in April, Reithofer said, without being more specific. (Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Christoph Steitz)