MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- BMW reported a 5.2 percent gain in profit last year on higher vehicle deliveries as the world’s largest maker of luxury cars pushes to stay ahead of Mercedes-Benz.
Earnings before interest and taxes rose to 9.59 billion euros ($10.5 billion) from 9.12 billion euros a year earlier, the company said today in a statement.
Profit from automaking narrowed to 9.2 percent of revenue from 9.6 percent in 2014.
"We are aiming for slight growth in deliveries" on the back of new models such as the 7-series sedan, CEO Harald Krueger said in the statement.
Last year BMW retained the title of world's biggest luxury carmaker, with sales of BMW-branded cars reaching 1.91 million, a 5.2 percent rise on the previous year and the 11th year in a row since the company first won the title in 2005.
BMW is again targeting a record sales year, which would be its seventh in a row.
With few major new models to spur growth this year, BMW faces the prospect of losing the top spot in premium-car sales to a resurgent Mercedes, whose CEO Dieter Zetsche aims to win the luxury crown by 2020.
An aging model lineup has meant that BMW has struggled to keep pace with growth at No. 2 Mercedes, which has rolled out new models in recent years including the GT sports car, the GLE Coupe SUV and the compact CLA sedan.
“BMW certainly knows it’s under pressure to show they can regain growth momentum, and they need to find a way to return passion to the brand,” said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst with Evercore ISI.
BMW said it expects momentum in the current year from the new X1, as well as the 7 series.
Mini sales up, Rolls-Royce down
The company said sales of its Mini brand cars rose 12 percent last year to a record 338,466, with sales of the new Mini 5-Door reaching 94,788 units, up from 13,113 the year before. The Mini 3-Door was the brand's bestseller with a volume of 127,194, up 0.2 percent. The new Mini Clubman, which went on sale in October, had sales of 8,003 units by the end of the year.
The Rolls-Royce brand sold 3,785 cars, down 6.8 percent, hit by "stiff headwinds" in China's luxury segment, BMW said.
BMW disappointed some investors by not offering a special dividend as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. BMW said it plans yet again to raise the general dividend to 3.20 euros per common share from 2.90 euros for 2014 earnings, which would be its sixth increase in a row. The shares fell as much as 3.2 percent.
The carmaker is scheduled to release full 2015 earnings details on March 16.
Bloomberg and Automotive News Europe contributed to this report