BMW eyes double-digit sales in China this year

Updated: 2008-04-21 16:18

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG said it expects to achieve double-digit sales growth in China this year for both its BMW and Mini vehicles.

The automaker also plans to raise capacity at its plant in northeast China's Shenyang by about 45 percent as it looks to "become the most successful premium car company in China," said Ian Robertson, member of BMW's board of management for sales and marketing.

Speaking at the Beijing Auto Show, Robertson said the company wants to expand annual production capacity at the plant to 41,000 units.

The German automaker produces BMW 3 and 5 series cars at the Shenyang plant with its local partner Brilliance China.

First quarter sales of BMW vehicles in China rose 40 percent from a year earlier to almost 14,000 units, while Mini sales increased 112 percent to about 700 units, Robertson said.

"We expect at least double-digit growth in retail sales for both the BMW and Mini in China this year," he said, adding that Asian countries are some of the fastest growing markets in the world for BMW.

Robertson was speaking at the worldwide launch of the BMW X6, a sports activity coupe. He said the car, which houses BMW's most powerful engine, will "come soon to a dealership in China," but he did not provide a detailed timeframe.

BMW also announced the launch of its BMW 1 series in China.

The automaker will sell the 120i and 130i versions of the compact car in China.

"This marks our first venture into the compact car segment in China ... the segment is evolving and there is clear demand for this type of car in China," Robertson said.

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