The German luxury car maker BMW fell into the red early this year, posting a first quarter net loss of 152 million euros (202 million dollars), a statement said on Wednesday.
BMW had made a profit of 487 million euros in the same period of 2008.
The group said it could not give an outlook for 2009 as a whole, except to say that sales would be lower than last year.
"In view of the difficult conditions still prevailing on the financial markets, we remain focused in our efforts to improve our liquidity position," chief executive Norbert Reithofer said in a statement.
The group's core earnings swung to a loss of 55 million euros from a profit of 827 million, as sales slumped by 13 percent to 11.5 billion euros from 13.3 billion.
Those results were nonetheless better than expected. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a core earning loss of 275 million euros and 10.5 billion euros in sales.
A total of 267,637 automobiles were sold in the first three months of the year, down from 405,595 in the first quarter of 2008, the statement said.
BMW also sold 29,111 motorcycles, up from 28,589, it added.