BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- BMW AG returned to a profit in the first quarter as the top-of-the-line 7-series sedan attracted buyers.
Net income was 324 million euros ($421 million), or 49 cents a share, compared with a loss of 152 million euros, or 23 cents, a year earlier, the Munich-based maker of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles said today. Profit beat the 264 million-euro average estimate of eight analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 8.1 percent to 12.4 billion euros.
BMW is counting on a new version of the 5 series, which was introduced in March and shares parts with the 7 series, to help defend its position as the world's biggest maker of luxury vehicles. Volkswagen AG's Audi has set a goal of dethroning BMW as the world"s No. 1 luxury-car manufacturer by 2015, while Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, which BMW overtook in 2005, plans to take market share in 2010 by growing twice as fast as the industry average.
“We increased earnings significantly in the first quarter and are now back on a growth course on almost all car markets,” CEO Norbert Reithofer said in the statement. “We expect that earnings will grow dynamically over the course of the year.”
Earnings before interest and taxes will rise in 2010, fueled by a “solid single-digit” percentage increase in deliveries, BMW said today, reiterating an earlier forecast. The automaker has a target of selling at least 1.3 million cars and sport-utility vehicles this year compared with 1.29 million in 2009, its lowest full-year sales since 2004.