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Outgoing CEO of BMW warns that China is ‘losing momentum’

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo BMW employee Sandra Altmannshofer works at the production line for electric drive modules for BMW i8 and BMW i3 cars in Dingolfing, Germany. The shareholders of the German luxury car maker come together Wednesday, May 13, 2015 for their annual meeting. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The departing CEO of automaker BMW has cautioned that China’s economy is “losing momentum.”

Norbert Reithofer said that the company’s planning was taking into account a “normalization” of a market that has delivered fast-growing sales and rich profits.

Munich-based BMW AG sold 455, 979 vehicles in China last year, or about 21 percent of sales. Economists say China’s strong growth appears to be easing; the government there has undertaken monetary stimulus measures to bolster the economy.

China was the world’s biggest car market last year, with 18.4 million vehicles sold, up 13 percent.

Reithofer spoke Wednesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, where he is handing off to successor Harald Krueger. Krueger has been the company’s production chief and formerly worked as an engineer at the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.

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