Europe's financial situation is, well, bad. So no one was surprised to see analysts' low expectations for German carmakers. But the numbers are out, and whaddya know? Three German auto companies have reported better results than predicted.
BMW reported this week that its first quarter profit rose 19 percent. BMW said 1-Series sales jumped 20 percent, which helped the company deliver a record total of 425,528 vehicles in the first quarter.

Last week, Daimler and Volkswagen blew past analysts' expectations with VW increasing profit 10 percent and Daimler making 4.9 percent more that last year's first quarter.

Much of the profit and sales boost is due to growing popularity of German models in U.S. and China. A couple of analysts quoted in a Bloomberg report are split on what the future holds. One says he expects BMW and VW to raise their second quarter forecasts. Another sees China's market cooling off and gives BMW a neutral rating while rating VW and Daimler as good buys. So far this year automotive companies (including suppliers) are the best performing stocks in Europe.

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