By William Boston

 

BERLIN--BMW AG, the German luxury car maker, on Wednesday reported lower profit in the first three months of the year, and said that the lockdown of auto markets in the U.S. and Europe to prevent Covid-19 infections from spreading would push the company into the red in the second quarter.

"The second quarter is going to be negative," Nicolas Peter, BMW finance chief, told reporters during a telephone conference to report earnings during the first quarter.

The Munich-based auto maker's outlook follows similar comments by rivals Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars. Both companies said during calls to report on first-quarter earnings that the lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. would make April the hardest month for auto makers and likely push them into a loss for the second quarter.

BMW said net income fell to 574 million euros ($623.7 million) in the first quarter from EUR588 million a year ago. Sales rose to EUR23.25 billion from EUR22.46 billion. New car sales fell 21% to 477,111 vehicles in the first three months of the year, the company said.

"No one can seriously predict how the economic situation in the world, and especially in automobile markets, will develop in the coming months," BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said. "We are preparing ourselves for a long period of business difficulties."

 

Write to William Boston at william.boston@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 06, 2020 06:35 ET (10:35 GMT)

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