BMW AG increases annual profit to $6.2 billion on record sales, raises dividend

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FRANKFURT, Germany — Luxury car maker BMW says record sales in 2014 helped it post a solid 9.2 percent increase in full-year profit.

The Munich-based maker of the 3-Series sedan and the X5 sport-utility vehicle saw net profit rise to 5.82 billion euros ($6.2 billion), with strong demand from China, Britain and the U.S.

The company said it expects to increase sales volume this year with the help of 15 new model launches. Last week at the Geneva International Motor Show, the company showed off its forthcoming 2-Series Gran Tourer, a seven-seat family transporter that expands the company's range from its more familiar lineup of high-priced sedans and SUVs. The company expects that up to 70 percent of Gran Tourer buyers will be so-called "conquests" from other brands — people who have not bought a car from BMW before.

BMW's 4-Series model saw sales jump eightfold while the X5, made in Spartanburg, South Carolina, increased sales by 37 percent. Overall, the company sold 1.81 million BMW-branded cars, which helped revenues rise 5.7 percent to the record 80.40 billion euros.

CEO Norbert Reithofer said "tailwinds caused by high customer demand for our vehicles worldwide are driving up sales volumes."

The company raised its dividend to 2.90 euros per share from 2.60 euros for 2013.

Shares in BMW AG fell 0.75 percent to 118.45 euros.

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