BMW Post Fourth Quarter Profit Gain on 3-Series

BMW reported a surprise 4.2 per cent gain in their fourth quarter profit, this was boosted by strong demand for the 3 series sedan and wagon.

The world's biggest maker of luxury automobiles, reported earnings before interest and taxes rose to 1.95 billion Euros ($2.72 billion), up from 1.87 billion Euros a year ago, the Munich-based company said in a statement. This figure beat the 1.83 billion euro average of 10 analyst estimates, which were compiled by Bloomberg. The shares gained the most in almost five months.

"We forecast further sales volume growth in the current year which will again bring us a new all-time high," Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said in a statement.

BMW is stepping up investment in technology and expanding production to hold off competition from Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which have both vowed to take the luxury-sales crown by the end of the decade. Volkswagen AG's Audi outsold BMW's namesake brand in the first two months of 2014, while Daimler AG (DAI)'s Mercedes has grown at a faster pace than its two larger rivals in recent months, Bloomberg reported.

"BMW's numbers look good," said Erich Hauser, an analyst with International Strategy and Investment Group in London. "The fourth quarter margins were stronger than expected."

BMW is responding this year with the upgraded X5 sport-utility vehicle as well as new models like the 4-series Gran Coupe, the 2 Series Active Tourer hatchback and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. BMW forecasts sales for the group, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, to exceed 2 million autos for the first time this year.

In line with this, Audi are to introduce 17 new or revamped vehicles in 2014, including a remake of the iconic TT sportster. Mercedes are also rolling out 30 new cars by the end of the decade, including a dozen all-new cars.

BMW will release further details of 2013 earnings on March 19th.