BMW warns over pandemic risk

German car manufacturer BMW has warned a new wave of coronavirus infections sweeping Europe and the United states pose a “considerable” risk to its business.

The warning came as it saw third-quarter profits rise almost 10% thanks to Chinese demand for luxury cars.

However, its cautious outlook sent BMW shares lower on Wednesday morning (4 November).

“After a more stable phase in the economic environment in the third quarter, the pandemic is now clearly regaining momentum,” BMW said.

“If the pandemic takes an even more serious course and the global economy experiences a perceptible downturn, the risk exposure could be considerable, particularly on the demand side.”

Deliveries of BMW-branded vehicles jumped of 9.8% during the quarter, mainly thanks to a 31% spike in China, which helped offset a 15.7% drop in demand in the United States, where the pandemic has hit sales.

Despite a recovery in demand in some markets, overall deliveries of high-end vehicles as well as group pre-tax profit are expected to be significantly lower than last year, it said.

BMW’s warning comes as the National Health Service (NHS) in England is preparing to start distributing possible COVID-19 vaccines before Christmas in case one of the candidates is ready by the end of the year, the head of the state-run health service said.

“There are over two hundred vaccines in development… we should hopefully get one or more of those available, certainly from the first part of next year,” Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, told BBC radio.

“But in anticipation of that, we’re also gearing the NHS up to be ready to make a start on administering COVID vaccines before Christmas if they become available.”