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X-series SUVs and crossovers help push BMW earnings higher

  • FILE- In this file photo dated Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, the logo of German car manufacturer BMW is pictured on a BMW i3 electric drive car at the production line in Dingolfing, Germany.  The world’s leading maker of premium cars by volume, BMW is scheduled to report first-quarter business results on Wednesday May 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FILE)

    FILE- In this file photo dated Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, the logo of German car manufacturer BMW is pictured on a BMW i3 electric drive car at the production line in Dingolfing, Germany. The world’s leading maker of premium cars by volume, BMW is scheduled to report first-quarter business results on Wednesday May 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2014 file photo, BMW introduces the X6 M during the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles. BMW increased its profits in the first quarter thanks to strong demand for its expensive SUVs and higher sales in the U.S. and Britain as well as in a recovering European market, the German luxury automaker said Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2014 file photo, BMW introduces the X6 M during the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles. BMW increased its profits in the first quarter thanks to strong demand for its expensive SUVs and higher sales in the U.S. and Britain as well as in a recovering European market, the German luxury automaker said Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)  (The Associated Press)

Stronger sales in the US and Britain helped push earnings higher at German luxury carmaker BMW AG in the first quarter.

Net profit rose 4 percent compared with the same period last year, to 1.515 billion euros ($1.70 billion).

Vehicle sales rose across all major markets for the world's top-selling maker of high-priced cars, with increases of 15 percent in Britain and 13 percent in the United States. The company saw strong demand for its X-series of SUVs and SUV-like crossovers. The X-5 sport-utility made in Spartanburg, South Carolina, recorded a sales rise of 30 percent.

Significantly, Munich-based BMW said Wednesday that it maintained its high profit margin of 9.5 percent, near the upper end of its target range of 8-10 percent.

Revenues rose 15 percent to 20.917 billion euros.