A sharp jump in sales of its luxury cars and sport utility vehicles in China helped German automaker BMW AG increase net profit by 51 per cent last year to euro4.9 billion ($6.43 billion). The company's sales also benefited from the recovery the United States.
Revenues rose 14 percent to euro68.82 billion, as the number of vehicles sold in China increased 38 per cent, to 233,600.
Sales rose 14 per cent in the United States, where the company sold more than 340,000 vehicles.
Net profit fell somewhat short of the average analyst estimate compiled by FactSet of euro5.07 billion. Sales exceeded analyst estimates for euro68.4 billion.
Chief executive Norbert Reithofer said BMW "set new records in unit sales, revenue and profit and more than reached our goals."
BMW and competitors Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG have seen big profits from export sales thanks to a modest economic recovery in the United States and demand for German luxury cars in China and other emerging markets. Daimler AG, whose Mercedes-Benz brand competes with BMW, made euro6.03 billion last year, up 29 per cent. Volkswagen, which owns the Audi luxury brand, reports earnings March 12 but has already said it was such a good year that it will pay its workers a record euro7,500 ($9,840) each in profit-sharing bonuses.
BMW cited stronger sales of its large 7-series sedan, which rose 4.5 per cent to 68,800 and its X3 sport utility, which more than doubled its sales numbers.
At the very high end of the scale, the company's Rolls-Royce brand increased unit sales by 30 perc ent to 3,538 for the year.