German luxury carmaker BMW said Tuesday that its third-quarter net profit had risen by a better-than-expected 16 percent to 1.29 billion euros ($1.65 billion), despite what it termed difficult market conditions.
"The BMW group continued to perform successfully during the period under report despite difficult market conditions. Sales volume, revenues and earnings figures all constituted new highs to date for a third quarter," it said in a statement.
Analysts had forecast a drop of 3.1 percent in net profit to 1.05 billion euros.
BMW sales were 13.7 percent higher at 18.817 billion euros, while core operating profit was up by 13.8 percent at 2.0 billion euros.
"We have had a good third quarter, setting new sales volume, revenues and earnings records in the face of a challenging market environment," chairman Norbert Reithofer said.
"We expect further sales volume growth for the fourth quarter, even though it is clear that we – and indeed the sector as a whole – are likely to be confronted with adverse business conditions."
In terms of unit sales, the group posted a 9.0 percent increase to 434,963 vehicles.
BMW said that sales of its 1 Series, X1, 5 Series and 6 Series models were particularly strong, and that its Mini brand had reported a rise of 7.2 percent in sales during the first nine months of the year, to 223,214 units.
Overall in the period from January through the end of September, BMW said sales were 8.6 percent higher at 1,109,962 vehicles, which it said underscored its leading position in the premium auto segment.
The company reaffirmed its full-year targets, with Reithofer saying: “We are on course to achieve new record figures for sales volume and pre-tax earnings in 2012."
He noted however that "like the rest of the sector, we are now beginning to feel some headwind".