FRANKFURT Aug 5 (Reuters) - German luxury car maker BMW AG said its second quarter operating profit rose 26 percent, above forecasts, as new offroad models and strong China sales boosted earnings.
Earnings before interest and tax came in at 2.6 billion euros ($3.5 billion) above the 2.23 billion euros forecast in a Reuters poll thanks to improved pricing of new models, the company said.
BMW's automotive EBIT margin, the best gauge to compare profitability with peers, was 11.7 percent in the quarter, higher than the 7.9 percent achieved by rival Mercedes-Benz Cars and above its own target range of between 8 percent and 10 percent.
"The BMW Group increased sales volume, revenues and Group earnings in both the second quarter and the six-month reporting periods, continuing the successful development of our business," Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said in a statement.
($1 = 0.7450 Euros) (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Kirsti Knolle)