A study has revealed that BMW is ahead of rival Daimler and world No 2 automaker Volkswagen in terms of profitability for the first half of 2017.

According to the Ernst & Young study, the Munich-based company managed 49.25 billion euros in sales and registered 5.58 billion euros in profit – for a 11.3% profit margin – in the first six months of the year, German news agency DPA reports.

Surprisingly, it’s Japanese carmaker Suzuki that is second-ranked for best profit margins at 10.3%, with Daimler is third at 9.7%. Volkswagen is placed fifth on the top 10 list, behind GM, with a margin of 7.7%.

The figures for the first half of 2017 continue the trend from 2016, when over the full year BMW’s profit margin of 10% was ahead of Daimler’s 8.3%, but the introduction of a slew of new models shows that the latter is catching up.

The report adds that in terms of the pure car business, Daimler is actually more profitable than BMW, but as far as unbeatable profitability goes, no one comes close to Ferrari, which has the highest margins in the industry.

The E&Y study states that market challenges will continue to impact all players, and added that with European sales softening, the above-average growth in China will continue to cause a certain dependency for the German automakers. According to the study, BMW, Daimler and VW now sell almost every third new car in China, with VW the highest of the trio at 37% in the second quarter.