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Business

BMW Expects Record 2004 Earnings

Bayerische Motoren Werke, the world's second-largest luxury carmaker, expects to report record earnings this year, helped by the introduction of the X3 sport-utility vehicle and other new models, according to Bloomberg News. The company plans to exceed its 2002 record net income of €2.02 billion ($2.47 billion), Chief Executive Helmut Panke told journalists in Munich on Wednesday. Last year, earnings declined 3.6 percent as BMW invested in new products. The automaker began selling the X3 and the 6-Series coupe this year in an effort to overtake DaimlerChrysler as the leading luxury carmaker. BMW is also bringing out a stationwagon version of the 5-Series car and the 1-Series model, a competitor to Volkswagen's Golf. BMW expects growth in the United States, its largest market. "With all the new models, they're bringing out, the company has a duty to produce record profits," Georg Stuerzer, an analyst at HVB Group, told Bloomberg. "It would terrible if they couldn't increase earnings." BMW shares rose as much as 75 cents, or 2.2 percent, to €34.20 euros in Frankfurt on the news.