BERLIN (Bloomberg) – Reports from the luxurious car manufacturers of the world BMW mentioned improved profits in the third quarter as demand for the X3 sport-utility vehicle offset lower sales of the 1 series.

Earnings before interest and taxes rose 44 percent to 1.72 billion euros ($2.35 billion) from 1.19 billion euros a year earlier. Then the revenue climbed 3.8 percent to 16.5 billion euros.

Growth has been lowered for high-end carmakers from the record pace in the first half as Europe's debt crisis unsettles consumers.

Its profit beat the 1.58 billion-euro average estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz, reported its first earnings drop since the third quarter of 2009, burdened by expenses for new models.

"Challenges to keep flexibility, to keep the efficiency up there are pretty huge for the industry," Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst with Credit Suisse, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Still, manufacturers like BMW with a strong brand and a global presence are better positioned than "euro-centric mass producers."

Operating profit in the BMW car unit fell to 11.9 percent of sales from a record 14.4 percent in the second quarter, sales of compact 1-series and 3 series sedan fell before the introduction of the new generation versions, and the company spends € 500 million in the second half to bring the revised models. The declines and costs were partially offset by higher deliveries of the X3 and 5 series sedan.

BMW introduced an overhauled 1 series in September and will follow with the revamped 3 series in February.

Deliveries of the 1 series fell 28 percent to 34,600 vehicles in the quarter, while 3 series sales slipped 1.4 percent to 95,200 cars as customers waited for the new versions. Sales of the X3 tripled to 30,200, while 5 series deliveries rose 31 percent to 79,900.


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