German luxury carmaker BMW on Thursday said it was

Net profit at the group grew 31 percent year-on-year to 2.15 billion euros ($2.34 billion) between January and March, on revenues up 12.4 percent to 23.45 billion euros.

BMW pointed to increased sales as it began launching a slew of new models slated for the next two years, including a doubling in sales of electric-powered cars.

"We expect the BMW group's three premium brands to set new delivery records again in 2017," chief executive Harald Krueger said in a statement.

Alongside the group's own-brand cars, BMW also operates Mini and Rolls-Royce as subsidiaries.

BMW noted that as well as a sales boost, financial effects contributed steeply to its bottom line.

One of those was a 183-million-euro increase in the value of its stake in high-tech mapping firm Here -- which it owns jointly with competitors Daimler and Audi -- as new investors were brought in.

Without those financial impacts, operating, or underlying profit grew just 7.7 percent compared with the same period last year, to 2.65 billion euros.

Looking to the rest of the year, "the first-quarter results lay a very sound foundation for us to achieve our ambitious targets for 2017," finance chief Nicolas Peter said.

BMW expects "slight increases" in unit sales of its cars and pre-tax profits in 2017, while keeping operating profit margins between 8.0 and 10 percent.