Highest-ever car sales steer BMW profits up


German car manufacturer BMW has reported a 32.9 per cent rise in second quarter profits, largely driven by record car sales during the same period.

The car-maker's pre-tax profits in the last three months stand at €1.23 billion (£0.84 billion), which also represents a half-year increase of 44.5 per cent.

Sales of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles reached a record level of more than 365,000 since April, a 3.2 per cent climb compared to the corresponding period last year, while first-half sales overall accelerated to almost 700,000, eight per cent up from 2005's levels.

Group revenue increased by 8.4 per cent during the last three months to €13.19 billion (£9 billion), leaving half-year revenue at €24.81 billion (£16.95 billion).

The only potential brake on BMW's first six-month fortunes were spluttering motorcycle sales in the first quarter, but the German firm attributed this slowdown to bad weather, reporting a second quarter rise of three per cent.

Overall the group believes that business growth will "continue to develop positively" in the remainder of the financial year," although it admits that car sales are unlikely to match those of the first six months.

"External factors will continue to affect reported results of the BMW group in the second half of 2006, with currency factors and high raw material prices still having a negative impact, particularly on the automobile segment," the car-maker said.

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