X-series SUVs and crossovers help push BMW earnings higher

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.