Booming sales in China and signs of life from the depressed European car market helped BMW's net profit rise 11 percent in the first quarter.

Munich-based BMW AG said Tuesday it "profited from increasingly friendly market conditions in the first quarter of 2014, particularly in Europe." Sales were strong for its mainstay 3 Series and 5 Series, as well as its redone X5 sport utility made in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Overall, revenues rose 3.9 percent as the company sold 3.4 percent more cars in Europe, where markets have started to show signs of improvement. Demand started to recover from low levels after an economic crisis that weighed on incomes and sent unemployment up in countries such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy.

Sales rose by 21 percent in Asia and by 25 percent in China, where strong demand has supported earnings for BMW and its German competitors Volkswagen and Daimler.

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Sales grew by a more modest 2.7 percent in the United States after business was dented by the unusually cold and stormy weather during the quarter. However, BMW said the underlying economic climate in the U.S. remained favorable.

BMW has a large manufacturing plant in Greer.