BMW seeks 4,000 new workers
BMW AG plans to hire about 4,000 new employees this year, boosting its total global work force to more than 104,000 people, CEO Norbert Reithofer said.
"At the end of last year, the BMW Group employed about 100,000 people. We will hire about as many new employees as last year, especially in the fields of r&d, purchasing and sales," Reithofer told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.
BMW increased its global work force 5 percent to 100,306 people last year -- including the staff of ING Car Lease, a fleet management company BMW acquired 2011. It was the first increase since 2007, when the automaker employed 107,539 people. In 1998, the company employed an all-time high of 118,489 people.
BMW Group is hiring again because it set records for unit sales (1.67 million), revenues (68.8 billion euros) and pre-tax profit (7.4 billion euros) in 2011.
"For the current year, we are optimistic and expect to grow stronger than the total global passenger-car market," Reithofer said. Total global light vehicle sales are expected to rise 6 percent to 74.1 million units this year, according to Morgan Stanley.
BMW Group is counting on strong sales from models such as the new BMW 6-series Gran Coupe, which debuted at the Geneva show on Tuesday, as well as the new Roadster and Coupe Countryman from Mini. The Roadster went on sale in Europe last month and the Coupe Countryman debuts later this year. "In the mid-term, we will sell 400,000 Minis," Reithofer said. Last year, the Mini brand sold 285,060 vehicles.
When asked whether BMW is ready to cope with a decline in demand due to Europe's weak new-car sales, Reithofer said: "Today our production system is extremely flexible. We can equalize fluctuations in demand of up to 15 percent – in both directions." The German automaker aims to boost sales of BMW, Mini and Roll-Royce models to at least 2 million cars a year by 2020.