Strong SUV sales help BMW's first-quarter earnings

Excellent SUV sales in the European and US market ensured that German premium car maker BMW did better than predicted in the first quarter of 2015, with underlying earnings increasing by over 20% to €2.52bn (£1.85bn) and revenues increasing by 14.7% to €20.9bn (£14.9bn).

There was robust growth in sales in the US and Europe, which experts believe came from a significant demand for the company's luxury SUV models and the X5. Speaking about the terrific figures, BMW board of management chairman Norbert Reithofer said: "We have got off to a good start in 2015. We are aiming to achieve solid growth in 2015, and hence new record figures for sales volume and profit before tax."

The company believes that these excellent figures can be mirrored throughout the year and that the BMW Group will be helped be an above-average demand for its new models. This success will also be linked to motorbike and Mini sales, which are also up on the previous year.

Even though the first-quarter results are strong, BMW cites markets such as Russia as being particularly challenging for premium car sales. Further afield, it is likely that the lucrative Chinese market will not grow as fast in 2015.

Even though BMW continues to be the company that sets the benchmark in global luxury car sales, competitors Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover all have ambitions to be the market leader.