BMW earns rise as battered Europe market improves

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Luxury automaker BMW AG says its net profit rose by 11 percent in the first quarter, as Europe's battered car market finally showed signs of recovery.

On top of booming sales in China, that helped boost profit to 1.462 billion euros ($2.03 billion) from 1.312 billion euros in the same quarter a year ago. Sales rose 3.9 percent to 18.235 billion euros.

The company credited strong sales from its mainstay 3 Series and 5 Series, as well as its redone X5 sport-utility made in Spartanburg, South Carolina. China sales for the group rose 25 percent.

Munich-based BMW said Tuesday that US sales were held back by cold and stormy weather, but should recover quickly.

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