FRANKFURT -- BMW profits in 2005 are unlike car sales growth because of high oil and steel prices, its chief executive told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Detroit.
"We shall not extrapolate car sales growth to profits," Chief Executive Helmut Panke said in an interview with the paper to be published on Thursday.
"High oil and steel prices as well a weak dollar bring pressure to profits," Panke added. He is in the United States for the annual North American International Auto Show.
The warning came after the Munich-based firm confirmed this week that 2004 earnings would correlate roughly with its performance in car sales.
Panke forecast 6 percent to 9 percent car sales growth this year, after the firm posted a 9.4 percent increase in global sales to a record 1.208 million vehicles in 2004.
He said earlier that BMW's hedging against expected U.S. dollar exposure in 2005 rose to over 50 percent versus earlier guidance of over one third.
BMW has managed to drive from one historic best to the next, deftly outmaneuvering an industry-wide malaise thanks to its reputation for beefy engines matched with sporty handling, all wrapped up in a striking package of sleek steel curves.
With its most important model, the mid-sized 3-Series saloon, totally revamped and waiting in the starting blocks for a March launch, the company said earlier that 2005 would be another sunny year for car sales.