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BMW’s Chinese Partner Brilliance Posts 43% Growth in 2011 Profit

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s Chinese partner reported full-year profit rose 43 percent after demand for luxury vehicles outpaced deliveries in the country’s overall automobile market.

Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd.’s net income rose to 1.81 billion yuan ($285 million) last year, the Hong Kong-based company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. That matched the 1.81 billion yuan average of 14 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales fell 28 percent to 6.44 billion yuan.

BMW, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG’s Audi are counting on China and the U.S. to fuel expansion this year as they face shrinking demand in Europe. Brilliance, which assembles BMW’s 3- and 5- series sedans in Shenyang, northeast China, increased the number of dealerships in the country last year to cater to demand that has shown signs of cooling.

Brilliance rose 0.9 percent to HK$8.32 at the close of trading in Hong Kong trading before the announcement, paring this year’s loss to 0.7 percent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 0.8 percent today.

The automaker will add local production of the X1 sport-utility vehicle and new 3-series sedan this year. The company had the capacity to make about 100,000 BMW vehicles at the end of 2011, or about 43 percent of the German automaker’s total sales in China.

Growth in premium-light vehicle sales in China, the world’s second-largest market for luxury vehicles, will slow to 24 percent this year after jumping 34 percent in 2011, according to Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt-based analyst at IHS Automotive.

For the overall market, vehicle sales will probably miss an 8 percent growth forecast as the slowing economy and rising fuel costs curb buying, Gu Xianghua, deputy secretary of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said March 21, citing his personal opinion.

Brilliance also has a minibus joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp.

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