BMW AG says rising sales in China helped its profits more than double to €1.81 billion ($2.5 billion) in the second quarter, even as the growth of that key market began to ease.

Sales volume, revenues and earnings figures for the quarter all registered all-time highs, keeping the BMW Group on track to accomplish a successful year and remain the world’s leading manufacturer of premium cars.

Sales rose 43% in Asia, with the Chinese market leading the increase. US sales also rose strongly, by 18%. More precisely, the automaker sold 63,300 cars in China during the quarter, compared to 80,300 at home in Germany.

The figure far exceeded a 2.14 billion euro average estimate in a Reuters poll, in which the margin was seen at 12.8 percent.

Financial Services business continued to grow rapidly during the period under report. The number of new financing
and lease contracts signed during the first six months of the year rose by 12.2% to 591,351 contracts. At 30 June 2011 the segment was managing a portfolio of 3,277,247 credit and lease contracts with retail customers and dealers worldwide, an increase of 5.1% over the previous year.

Slight increase in workforce
The worldwide workforce increased slightly (+1.5%) to 96,943 employees at 30 June 2011. Compared to the end of the financial year 2010, the increase was 1.6%. Moreover, BMW is looking to hire 2,000 people this year to add capacity in emerging markets and fend off Audi, which has outsold Mercedes this year and aims to overtake BMW by 2015.

Financial markets remain volatile
Rising reference interest rates and price increases for energy and raw materials as well as the impact of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone all had a negative impact on the economic climate during the second quarter 2011.

Due to the improved economic climate, credit risk levels on some of the world’s major automobile markets continued to fall for retail, dealer and importer financing business during the second quarter 2011. Business conditions remain tense in a number of markets of southern Europe, mainly reflecting economic uncertainties in this region.


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