BMW Munich headquarters

BMW Munich headquarters

BMW has surpassed all industry estimates by posting a second quarter net profit of $2.57 billion, more than doubling results for the same period just one year ago.

The result is thanks to strong sales in China, which the automaker predicts will help it reach record sales of close to 1.6 million vehicles by the end of the year.

Revenues for the quarter were $25.4 billion, up from $21.8 billion in the second quarter of the previous year.

In a statement, BMW chief Norbert Reithofer said: “The first six months of 2011 were the best half-year ever in our company’s history.”

Key markets included the U.S. and China, but also India, which is quickly proving to be the next major new car superpower. In the U.S., sales for BMW were up 18 percent, whereas in China and India sales were up 61 percent and 107 percent respectively.

In total, the automaker delivered 450,608 of its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce cars to customers, up 19 percent compared with the same period last year, which also marks a new record. Top sellers included the 5-Series sedan and X5 SUV but also the new X3.

Other premium automakers enjoying record profits this period are Daimler, which just reported a profit of $2.5 billion, as well as Porsche, which saw its profits rise 59 percent.