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March 12, 2020 12:45 PM, EDT

BMW Fourth-Quarter Profit Increases on Luxury-Car Sales

BMWThe BMW logo is displayed on the rear of a 2020 BMW X2 xDrive 28i at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show on Feb.13, 2020. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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BMW AG finished 2019 with an increase in automotive profit on rising luxury-car sales as the German manufacturer faces a year mired in concerns over the coronavirus outbreak that threatens to shut down global supply chains.

Automotive earnings before interest and taxes rose 26% in the fourth quarter to 1.83 billion euros ($2.03 billion). Sales in the period reached their highest on record for a single quarter because it sold a greater share of vehicles in the “upper luxury” segment, the Munich-based carmaker said March 12.

BMW didn’t release an outlook for 2020, saying it will update investors at its yearly news conference scheduled for March 18. BMW’s performance for the rest of the year will be dependent on how the Chinese car market recovers. Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter last month stuck to the company’s outlook for 5-10% sales growth in the region.

BMW is nearly a year into on an effort to cut more than 12 billion euros in costs by the end of 2022 to help fund an expansion into electric and self-driving cars. The company has reduced the number of variants it offers for some models to slash production expenses.

Company shares have fallen about 39% since the start of the year, largely on fears over the impact of the coronavirus.

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