FRANKFURT -- BMW Chief Executive Helmut Panke reiterated the German luxury carmaker's forecasts and played down the dollar's weakness in a newspaper interview published on Monday.
"We expect a new record in unit sales (in 2005)," he told the Handelsblatt daily. "As for results, we are striving to reach more or less the same level as last year despite currency effects and high raw materials prices."
Panke said BMW still expected to sell more than 1.4 million units by 2008, giving it a market share of over 2 percent.
Two new models it plans could add another 50,000 unit sales a year each, and the overall global market will expand by around 20 percent in the next 10 years, he said.
"The premium market segment, which now accounts for less than 10 percent of the global market, will grow twice as strongly, we reckon. Even if we only grow along with the overall market there is a lot of upside potential," he said.
Panke said BMW's U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, helped shelter the group from the impact of a weak dollar, which was only half as great as for a producer that was not producing in the United States at all.
He reiterated his expectation that the dollar would recover versus the euro over time.
"I maintain my view that the euro will not be at $1.30 at the end of the year," he said, citing experts' analysis that a rate of around $1.15 would reflect economic fundamentals.
"The dollar has never fallen for longer than three years in a row, and this was already the case at the end of 2004. The current euro rate of $1.22 is just the start of a more rational approach."