BMW drives back into profit after global downturn

BMW, Germany’s luxury carmaker, has returned to profit compared with a year earlier and says sales in the coming year will be healthy.

The group reported a net profit of €324m (£277m) for the first three months of the year, against a loss of €152m a year ago.

Sales came in at €12.4bn, up eight per cent on the €11.5bn the firm reported for the first quarter of 2009.

The company sold twice as many cars in China as it did a year earlier.

BMW made a loss in the first quarter last year due to low sales during the economic downturn.

BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer said: “The BMW Group has made a good start to 2010. We increased earnings significantly in the first quarter and are now back on a growth course in almost all car markets.”

He said the group, which has made cuts, was aiming to achieve “significantly” higher earnings in 2010 than in 2009.

The car company launched its 5 Series earlier this year as it fights with other luxury makers, including Mercedes and Audi.

The 5 Series alone is expected to account for almost one-fifth of BMW brand unit sales.