BMW however said currency effects slowed both its turnover and operating profit, arguing sales would otherwise have remained around the same level as last year.

Harald Krueger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, presents the BMW iX3 concept car during a press conference at the Beijing Auto Show in Beijing on April 25, 2018.
Harald Krueger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, presents the BMW iX3 concept car during a press conference at the Beijing Auto Show in Beijing on April 25, 2018. (AFP)

German high-end carmaker BMW said on Friday it booked a strong first three months with record first-quarter shipments and profits, confirming its targets for the full year.

Net profit at the Munich-based group added 1.2 percent year-on-year to reach $2.8 billion (2.3 billion euros).

But operating, or underlying profits fell 3.1 percent to $3.35 billion, on the back of revenues down 5.1 percent at $27.2 billion.

BMW said its turnover and operating profit were both braked by currency effects, arguing sales would otherwise have remained around the same level as last year.

Away from the figures, chief executive Harald Krueger highlighted "crucial strategic decisions" the firm had taken in the first quarter to lay the foundations for more connected, electric-powered future cars.

It has agreed with Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, its historic rival, to merge the two firms' apps for car-sharing, ride-hailing and locating parking spaces and electric car charging points, and opened an autonomous driving research centre outside Munich.

Meanwhile BMW struck a deal with local firm Great Wall to build all-electric Mini cars in China and previewed a battery-powered version of its X3 SUV.

Unit sales added three percent worldwide, at 604,629 vehicles between flagship BMW, compact Mini and luxury Rolls-Royce.

The figures offered little sign that revelations early in the year that the group had co-operated with Daimler and Volkswagen to fund tests of diesel exhaust gases on live monkeys put off buyers, with sales adding one percent in Europe, four percent in the Americas and 6.3 percent in China.

Looking ahead to the full year, BMW expects to book new records for unit sales and revenue, with pre-tax profits of "at least the previous financial year's level" of $12.8 billion.

Source: AFP