BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer: “We have made good progress towards achieving our profitability targets..."

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer: “We have made good progress towards achieving our profitability targets..."

BMW has reported its biggest profit in two and a half years following a second quarter surge in sales in China and the US.

Net income in Q2 jumped to EUR831m (US$1.1bn) from EUR119m (US$151.8m) a year ago. Revenue rose 18% to EUR15.3bn (US$19.5bn).

As well as record sales in China and a resurgence in the US, BMW has sold 25,000 new 5-series models since the redesigned line went on sale in Europe in March.

BMW raised its 2010 forecast last month, expecting sales to rise around 10% to more than 1.4m vehicles with operating margin at the automotive division increasing more than 5%.

Total BMW brand sales during the first half of the year rose 14.1% to 585,755 units, compared with 513,591 in 2009. Mini sales climbed 7.6% to 109,301 units from 101,534 a year ago.

Rolls-Royce sold more cars during the first half of 2010 than it has in any six-month period since returning to the market in 2003 - 970 units compared with just 329 in the same period last year.

The group recorded sales growth in virtually all markets during the first half of 2010 with China, the Americas and Europe registering the highest increases. In Europe, sales rose 4.0% to 389,831 and US sales increased 6.4% to 121,912.

Volumes in Asia climbed by 57.7% to 128,845 as the Chinese market continued to grow with group sales during the six-month period more than doubling to 75,615 units.

CEO Norbert Reithofer said in a statement: “Sharp sales volume growth on major markets and a high value model mix are the main reasons for the strong second quarter performance.”

BMW is targeting margin on earnings before interest and taxes of between 8% and 10% in 2012 in the main automotive business and a return on equity of at least 18% in its financial services unit.

Among its upcoming new model introductions are the redesigned BMW X3 and the Mini Countryman, the brand's first five-door.

Reithofer added: “We have made good progress towards achieving our profitability targets for the year 2012. But we have no intention of resting on our laurels. We are determined to remain on track to make the company sustainably fit for the future.”