First-quarter operating profit at BMW rose by a forecast-beating 20.6 percent. As Grace Pascoe reports the German carmaker was lifted by strong demand for large offroaders in Europe and the United States.
Many of Europe's car makers are gathering speed but BMW has its foot firmly on the accelerator. The German carmaker's first-quarter profits are up 20 percent, with earnings at €2.52bn. Both beat expectations. Justin Urquhart-Stewart is from Seven Investment Management... SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, MARKET ANALYST, JUSTIN URQUHART-STEWART, SAYING: " BMW I think have been very selective and very careful in what they have been doing, where to try and focus, what does the customer want. And certainly the SUV's, always popular in the States, taking a brand like BMW through to the SUV typical American buyer seems to have worked very well indeed." China and Russia remain a problem for the company. With slow growth expected to lag in both regions. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, MARKET ANALYST, JUSTIN URQUHART-STEWART, SAYING: "They can't become mass market, they must always make sure they are seen as special and not lose that certain strength of the brand which is so vital to their value." BMW's focus on innovation is also a factor in its success. It will launch 15 new or upgraded models this year - at Rolls Royce, Mini and BMW.