FRANKFURT -- BMW said Thursday it is sticking to its full-year targets despite a decline in profits in the first three months.

"The BMW group continued to perform well in the first quarter of 2013," the car maker said in a statement.

BMW -- which also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce -- said it delivered a total 448,200 vehicles to customers worldwide in the period from January to March, an increase of 5.3% over the same period a year earlier.

First-quarter revenues were down 4.1% at 17.55 billion euros (US $23.11 billion).

And because of "higher expenditure on new technologies, increased personnel expenses and challenging market conditions worldwide," operating profit fell 4.5% to 2.039 billion euros and net profit was down 3% at 1.31 billion euros, the statement said.

"Despite the current weakness of car markets in Europe, the BMW Group has made a good start to the new financial year 2013," said chief executive Norbert Reithofer.

"We achieved a new sales volume record for a first quarter. And ... we managed to keep revenues and earnings at high levels," he said.

As a result, BMW "remains committed to its targets for the full year within a difficult and volatile economic environment, the chief executive continued.

"We do not expect to receive a great deal of impetus from most European markets over the next few months and economic conditions in these areas are likely to remain challenging," said Reithofer.

"We expect to achieve further sales volume growth in the current year, which will again result in a new all-time high," Reithofer said.

And high levels of expenditure for new technologies and models as well as investment in the production network meant the car maker expected to report 2013 pre-tax profit "on a similar scale to 2012," Reithofer said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013