German car-maker BMW increased its profits in the first quarter thanks to strong demand for large vehicles and higher sales in the US and Britain as well as in a recovering European market.
Net profit rose 4% compared with the same period last year to €1.515bn, the company said today.
Vehicle sales rose across all major markets for the world's top-selling maker of high-priced cars.
The company saw especially big increases of 15% in Britain and 13% in the United States during the quarter.
Sales grew 10% in Europe; the car market there continues to recover as the countries that use the euro slowly heal from their crisis over too much government and bank debt.
The X-series of 4x4s and crossovers, pricey vehicles that generate strong profit margins, continued to boost earnings as many customers in the US move up to more expensive cars.
The X-5 sport-utility made in Spartanburg, South Carolina, saw sales rise 30% compared with the same period of last year.
Significantly, Munich-based BMW said it maintained its high profit margin of 9.5%, near the upper end of its target range of 8-10%.
Revenues rose 15% to €20.917bn.
BMW leads Volkswagen's Audi division and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand in the sales race among high-priced car makers.
The company also makes Rolls-Royce and Mini cars.