* BMW Q4 automotive EBIT 1.77 bln euros vs 1.68 bln forecast
* Q4 automotive EBIT margin 9.2 pct
* Proposes raising dividend to 2.60 per common share
* Shares rise as much as 2.8 percent
(Adds details on which products, regions drove sales)
FRANKFURT, March 13 BMW aims to sell a
record 2 million cars or more this year, the world's largest
luxury carmaker said, after posting better-than-expected results
and raising its payout to shareholders.
The German carmaker said operating profit at its core
automotive division fell 14 percent in the last three months of
2013, despite higher sales, due to spending on fuel-efficient
technology and model launches. Analysts had expected a steeper
The investment drive, which includes the launch of the i3
electric vehicle and the next generation of the Mini, will help
BMW increase sales again this year in the face of stiff
competition from rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz
"We forecast further sales volume growth in the current year
which will again bring us a new all-time high," Chief Executive
Norbert Reithofer said on Thursday.
In 2013, BMW delivered 1.96 million cars with BMW, Mini and
Rolls-Royce registering record deliveries, driven by a 19.7
percent rise in mainland China and an 8.1 percent rise in the
U.S., the company said.
Volkswagen's Audi delivered 1.57 million cars, while
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz delivered 1.566 million last year.
In terms of models, BMW Group's sales were boosted by a 23
percent rise in deliveries of the 3-series sedan, stable sales
of the Mini and a 1.5 percent rise in deliveries of Rolls-Royce
BMW shares rose as much as 2.8 percent to 82.45 euros
outperforming the STOXX 600 automobile index, which was
up 1.8 percent.
BMW proposed a lower-than-expected dividend increase for
2013 to 2.60 euros a share for common stock from 2.50 euros in
2012, and 2.62 euros a share for preferred stock. Analysts had
hoped for an increase to 2.72 euros on average per common share,
according to a Reuters poll.
BMW said its automotive division's fourth-quarter earnings
before interest and tax (EBIT) dropped 14 percent to 1.77
billion euros ($2.46 billion). That was better than the 1.68
billion euros forecast by 12 banks and brokerages polled by
The company is set to release detailed earnings and give an
outlook for the year on March 19.
BMW's automotive EBIT margin, the best gauge to compare
profitability with peers, was 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter.
That was higher than the 8 percent quarterly return on sales
achieved by rival Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars division.
($1 = 0.7192 euros)
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Thomas Atkins and Erica