Profits soared as an indirect result of the shortage.
Over the past few months, we've reported a number of times on various carmakers that have opted to remove certain features from certain cars. This has affected brands from America, Germany, and even markets in or near to the semiconductor manufacturing capital of the world, Asia, like Genesis. The culprit has been the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage, and with no end in sight, many manufacturers have had no choice but to release vehicles from the factory even when they're not truly complete. For others, the best solution was to simply stop producing low-profit vehicles and focus on premium, high-end machines that return greater profits. BMW was one of the companies to take that approach, and 2021's earnings have been substantially bolstered as a result.
With fewer available cars in inventory, buyers have been struggling to find cars to get into, so while automakers had to rely on discounts before, 2021 saw cars essentially selling themselves, even at higher prices. If you want your car immediately, you pay more. Simple. As reported by CNBC, BMW's earnings preview - a full report will be issued at next week's annual meeting - reveals that profits saw a huge year on year increase in 2021. €12.46 billion was the full-year net profit figure last year, equating to around $13.7 billion in our money. That's up from about $4.24 billion in 2020. Revenue increased too, by 12.4% to €111.24 billion, or roughly $122.4 billion.
Vehicle deliveries rose by 8.4% compared to 2020, although the pandemic had a hand in reducing sales that year. In total, just over 2.5 million units were delivered despite supply chain issues, with around 13% of those either hybrid or full-electric vehicles. Just over 328,000 electrified vehicle sales were reported, an increase of 70%. BMW's mostly EV-led investments saw it spend 10.7% more on R&D last year, with roughly €6.3 billion (around $6.9 billion) reported. Interestingly, when considered as a percentage of revenue, 2021's spending is roughly on par with that of 2020, at around 6.2%. Operating profit in the automotive segment increased to 10.3% from only 2.7% the year before and 4.9% in 2019.
Motorcycle sales increased too, by 14.8% to over 194,000. The motorcycle division saw its operating profit margin rise from 4.5% in 2020 to 8.3% last year. BMW has really been steaming ahead, and its executives are happy with the results.
"Our business figures are proof that we were able to combine the underlying transformation and the major investment it entails with strong operational success in a very volatile environment in 2021," said Nicolas Peter, Chief Financial Officer at BMW AG. "We are in a good position and optimistic about the future."
Shareholders can be positive about the results too, as BMW intends to increase annual dividends per share from €1.90 ($2.09) to €5.80 ($6.37). A new share repurchase program will be announced at next week's annual meeting too. The future looks bright, and with new models like the BMW XM sure to be a hit with wealthy attention seekers, the upward trend is all but guaranteed to continue.