Eurozone's woes drive down the profits at BMW

Europe lingering in the economic doldrums means fewer drivers are splashing out on luxury BMWs: the German car maker's pre-tax profits fell 3 per cent to €1.3bn (£1.1bn) in the first quarter. Sales at the group, which also owns the Mini and Rolls-Royce marques, were down 4.1 per cent at €17.5bn.

"We don't expect to receive a great deal of impetus from most European markets over the next few months," the chief executive, Norbert Reithofer, admitted.