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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
BMW sees record sales and profits
BMW Z4 on display at recent motor show in Leipzig
BMW's cars are proving ever more popular
BMW's quarterly sales have hit a fresh all-time high, helping the German carmaker to record profits.

Unveiling its results for the first three months of 2006, BMW said it sold 332,923 cars, up 12% on a year earlier.

Pre-tax profits for the first quarter jumped 58% from the 2005 figure to 1.3bn euros ($1.6bn; 894m).

The performance was ahead of forecasts both with and without the boost from BMW's sale of shares in UK aircraft engine firm Rolls-Royce.

Excluding the 375m euro one-off gain from the Rolls-Royce sale, BMW's profits for the quarter were up 12%.

'Best year'

Looking ahead, BMW raised its profits target for 2006 as a whole.

It now estimates that annual pre-tax profits will reach a record 4bn euros on all-time high sales.

"We are thus heading for the best year in our corporate history," said BMW chairman Helmut Panke.

BMW added that the negative impact of the strong euro and raw material costs would continue to weigh on earnings this year, but to a lesser extent than in 2005.

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