The world's leading luxury carmaker, BMW, said Tuesday it posted record profit last year, following strong demand for premium-brand vehicles in the world's two biggest auto markers -- China and the U.S.
The Munich-based group said it expected pretax profit this year to surpass the 7.38 billion euros ($9.72 billion) it booked in 2011.
"We are targeting new highs in sales volume and pretax earnings for 2012," chief executive officer Norbert Reithofer told the company's annual press conference.
The group's results followed record profits from its rivals Audi and Daimler, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars, which have also benefited from a boom in luxury car sales in China and the U.S.
BMW expects sales to climb to more than 2 million by 2016 -- four years ahead of its original 2020 target.
The company said total deliveries for its three brands -- its flagship BMW, its compact Mini and top-of-the-range Rolls Royce -- came in at a record 1.67 million vehicles last year.
But despite BMW's strong performance, investors marked down the group's shares by 1.1 percent, with its stock fetching 70.28 euros in early morning trading.
BMW added 4,853 employees last year to its total workforce, bringing the worldwide total to 100,306. The group expects the headcount to rise by more than 4,000 this year.
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