A BMW hood ornament logo is affixed to a new car Sean Gallup, Getty Images

BMW Drives Third-Quarter Profit into Record Territory

Up to $2 billion in third-quarter profits, BMW announced plans to invest back into research and development — including in electric and driverless cars.

FRANKFURT, Germany — German luxury carmaker BMW beat expectations Friday with a new record net profit for the July to September period after selling record numbers of vehicles.

The Munich-based firm said it had made 1.8 billion euros ($2.0 billion) in net profit, up 15% compared with the 1.6 billion euros it made in the same period in 2015. Analysts surveyed by Factset had predicted net profits would remain stable in the third quarter.

BMW was “maintaining a strong basis for the consistent implementation of our strategy” of investing profits into research and development in areas like electric and driverless cars, CEO Harald Krueger said in a statement.

Sales by the world’s biggest high-end carmaker by revenue grew to 23.4 billion euros in the third quarter, with its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce divisions all booking big increases in unit sales. The group sold more than 583,000 cars in the July to September period, up 7.1% compared with the second quarter of 2015.

But it wasn’t spared by the cooling-off in the US market, which is on a downwards trend after years of record sales. CEO Krueger blamed “intense competition” for an 8.7% year-on-year fall in U.S. sales in the first nine months in a press teleconference on Friday.

The carmaker made up ground in other global regions, with net profit for the first nine months of the year growing by 11.7% to 5.5 billion euros. BMW confirmed its “confident” forecast for the full year, saying it would slightly increase unit sales and pre-tax profits compared with 2015.

“We’ve already brought together the things the whole sector is measured against,” Krueger said in his statement, pointing to a “successful” electric car strategy and “high profitability, which enables us to finance future investments from our own resources.”

As German and international rivals look towards an electrified future, BMW recently expanded its plans for electric and hybrid cars beyond its BMWi brand to cover its whole range. In early October, the group said it would offer an all-electric version of the Mini in 2019 and of its BMW X3 urban 4x4 in 2020.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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