BMW Raises 2010 Sales, Earnings Forecast

BERLIN (AP) -- Luxury car maker BMW AG raised its sales and earnings forecasts for 2010 on Tuesday, citing a recovery in global markets and strong demand for new models.

Car sales were up 13.1 percent in the first half of 2010 compared with a year earlier, BMW said. It pointed to "improved business conditions on the international automobile markets" and demand for models such as the 5 Series and the X1 SUV.

The company said it now expects full-year sales to rise about 10 percent to more than 1.4 million vehicles. It had previously forecast solid growth in the single-digit percentage range.

It said it now expects full-year pre-tax profit "to rise more sharply than previously forecast," though it didn't give a specific figure. It already had predicted a significant improvement in earnings this year.

BMW's financial services segment now aims for a "significant increase in pre-tax earnings," the company said. It previously had predicted an improvement.

"Given that numerous economic risks remain in the second half of the year, the new outlook is based on the condition that the economic recovery continues and that general business conditions are not significantly dampened," BMW cautioned.

BMW, based in Munich, is to release its second-quarter earnings figures on Aug. 3.

Tuesday's announcement powered BMW shares nearly 6.2 percent higher to euro41.31 ($51.97) in Frankfurt trading. That was well above the overall 1.4 percent rise in the DAX index of blue-chip stocks.

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