BMW Group on Tuesday said the first half of 2011 had been its best ever after revenues rose 22.1% to EUR33,925m, EBIT was EUR4,758m (versus EUR2,166m in 2010), profit before tax was EUR4,516m (EUR1,807m) and after tax profit EUR3,021m (EUR1,158m). Vehicle unit deliveries rose 19.7% to 833,366.

Second quarter revenues were up 16.5% to EUR17,888m, EBIT up 66.3% to EUR2,856m, pre-tax profit of EUR2,704m (EUR1,299m a year ago and net profit up to EUR1,809m from EUR834m. Vehicle unit sales increased 18.5% to a record 450,608.

“The first half of 2011 has been the best six-month period in the BMW Group’s history. We have achieved new sales volume, revenues and earnings records both for the second quarter and the six-month period. Strong [car] demand worldwide, together with efficiency improvements in all areas of the company have contributed greatly to this outstanding performance,” said chairman Norbert Reithofer.

Second quarter automotive revenues rose 22.0% to EUR16,674m and segment EBIT improved 82.8% including a positive exceptional effect of EUR85m resulting from the reduction of risk provision following the good recovery seen on used car markets. Second quarter EBIT margin was 14.4% and profit before tax improved to EUR2,297m from EUR938m.

First half automotive revenues rose 27.6% to EUR31,047m, EBIT was EUR4,116m (EUR1,608m), EBIT margin was 13.3% and pretax profit EUR3,902m (EUR1,158m).

BMW brand Q2 sales rose 15.2% to 368,686 units and by 17.8% to 689,861 in the first half.

Mini Q2 sales rose 35.6% to 81,053 units and 29.8% to 141,913 units in the first half.

Rolls-Royce second quarter volume was up 25.8% to 869 units while H1 sales were up 64.1% to 1,592 units.

Group H1 sales in Europe rose 12.3% with volume up 9.2% to 144,370 units in Germany and 14.3% to 83,606 units in Great Britain. Growth was also recorded in Italy (38,421 units: +12.7%) and France (35,619 units; +4.0%).

Sales in North America during the first six months of 2011 went up by 17.5% to 160,892 units, of which 143,974 units were for customers in the US (+18.1%).

Asian sales were up 47.4% to 190,054 units. Of those, 122,034 (+61.2%) were sold in China.

“The BMW Group now expects that its full-year performance will be significantly better than originally forecast,” the automaker said, citing strong demand for its vehicles. “For this reason, the earnings and sales volume forecasts for the full year were raised in mid-July.”

It now forecasts an EBIT margin of over 10% and a return on capital employed (RoCE) of over 26% for its automotive segment. Sales volume and earnings growth is, however, likely to be held down during the second half of the year by changes affecting some high-volume models as well as by the market launch and production start-up of successor models.

Group earnings and sales volumes for the full year 2011 will be “significantly higher” than in 2010.

Reithofer added: “We are aiming to achieve a record-breaking profit before tax and to increase sales volume by over 10% to a new high of more than 1.6m vehicles. We are well on track to remain the world’s leading manufacturer of premium cars.”

“We are striving to achieve an EBIT margin of between 8% and 10% in the automotive segment which can be sustained in 2012 and beyond, as well as a return on capital employed of over 26%. Depending on political and economic developments, however, actual margins may end up being above or below the targeted range.”