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BMW made record $6.4 billion in 2011
BMW says it had a record year in 2011 thanks to growth in China, US and raises dividend
By The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) ' Germany automaker BMW increased net profit by 51 percent last year to euro4.9 billion ($6.43 billion) as it benefitted from strong demand for its luxury cars and SUVs in China and an economic recovery in the United States.

Revenues rose 14 percent to euro68.82 billion, as the number of cars and SUVs sold in China increased 38 percent to 233,600, the company said Thursday. Sales rose 14 percent in the United States, where the company sold more than 340,000 vehicles.

The net profit rose from euro3.24 billion from the year before, leading the company to raise its dividend to euro2.30 per share from euro1.30, or 31 percent of its profits.

CEO Norbert Reithofer said BMW "set new records in unit sales, revenue and profit and more than reached our goals."

BMW and competitors Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG have seen big profits from export sales thanks to a modest economic recovery in the United States and demand for German cars in China and other emerging markets. Daimler AG made euro6.03 billion last year, up 29 percent. Volkswagen reports earnings March 12 but has already said it was such a good year that it will pay its workers a record euro7,500 ($9,840) each in profit-sharing bonuses.

BMW cited stronger sales of its large 7-series sedan, which rose 4.5 percent to 68,800 and its X3 sport utility, which more than doubled its sales numbers.

The company's Rolls-Royce brand increased unit sales by 30 percent to 3,538 for the year.

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