October 18, 2008 / 12:31 PM / in 9 years

BMW to emerge "stronger" from crisis -CEO to press

MILAN, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Next year will be difficult for the auto sector, the chief executive of BMW (BMWG.DE) said in an interview published in an Italian newspaper on Saturday, but he added the German carmaker would emerge stronger from the crisis.

“We are living through difficult times and even 2009 will be an extremely difficult year for the worldwide auto industry,” BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

“Nevertheless BMW will know how to reinvent itself and come out stronger from this crisis in the sector.”

BMW issued a profit warning in August, partly because of the global financial crisis and weaker economic growth in the United States, a key market for the company.

Reithofer said BMW, the world’s biggest premium carmaker, had survived others crises.

“It will be the same again this time. By 2012, we want to save 6 billion euros on raw materials and fixed costs, burdens which will be already be lower in 2008 compared to 2007,” he said.

“BMW is able to overcome this challenge,” he said, adding BMW aimed to sell 1.8 million cars in 2012.

    BMW is in talks with Italy’s Fiat FIA.MI over a possible cooperation between their Mini and Alfa Romeo brands.

    “The technical checks on a possible cooperation between Mini and Alfa is proceeding normally,” Reithofer said.

    He added: “I read in the press that there are many auto makers that are interested in working with BMW, also Daimler-Benz.” (Editing by Swaha Pattanaik)

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