BMW Q3 operating profit up 33% as higher margin SUV sales take off

FRANKFURT, Nov 6 (Reuters) - BMW's third-quarter operating profit rose 33% thanks to stronger sales of sports utility vehicles and the absence of one-off headwinds which depressed earnings in the year-earlier quarter, the German luxury car maker said on Wednesday.

The Munich-based company said its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to 2.29 billion euros ($2.54 billion), up from 1.72 billion euros in the year-earlier quarter and ahead of the 2.16 billion euros forecast in a Refinitiv poll.

The operating margin at its automotive division rose to 6.6% from 4.4% in the year-earlier period when new emissions rules led to heavy discounting by competitors, hitting BMW's profit margin on luxury cars.

BMW reiterated it expects a significant fall in group pretax profit, a slight increase in vehicle deliveries, and an EBIT margin of between 4.5% and 6.5% in the automotive division.

($1 = 0.9029 euros)

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Thomas Seythal)