BMW reports strong gain in September sales

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BMW, the world's leading luxury car brand, said on Friday that September sales rose by 16.8 percent from sales in September last year, and forecast strong growth in the rest of the 2010.

BMW and its Mini and Rolls-Royce offshoots sold a total of 142,950 vehicles last month.

Of this, the group sold 117,467 vehicles under the BMW brand, keeping it ahead of rival Audi, which reported September sales of 102,650 automobiles on Thursday for a gain of 16 percent.

Daimler, the third German manufacturer of premium autos, has not yet released sales data for September, but it typically trails BMW.

In the first nine months of the year, the BMW group reported sales of 1,062,216 vehicles, an increase of 13.1 percent from the figure for the same period in 2009, as luxury car makers benefit from a rebound in the global economy.

"Growth was encouragingly strong in September, with gains on most of our markets," BMW sales director Ian Robertson was quoted as saying.

"We have exceptional new products and intend to maintain this upward trend throughout the fourth quarter. Here, we expect to see robust growth in the double-digit percentage range," Roberson added.

A breakdown of the numbers showed that, like Audi, BMW saw strong growth in the United States, its main market, and China, with monthly sales gaining 20.5 percent and 89.1 percent, respectively on a 12-month basis.

BMW stressed that in Germany, its second-biggest market, the group had posted an increase of 16.6 percent with 21,542 vehicles, while the market had fallen by 17.8 percent overall.

A look at the various models showed strong results by BMW 5-, 7-, and X- Series autos, along with more modest gains by the Mini brand.

Deliveries of Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost models leapt by 422 percent to 261 units in September, meanwhile.

On October 1 however, BMW said it had recalled 350,800 BMW and Rolls-Royce vehicles worldwide because of a brake problem the group stressed was "without danger."

© 2010 AFP

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