BMW sales up 12 pc in Asia

Written by Agencies | Tokyo, January 31: | Updated: Jan 31 2008, 15:26pm hrs
Driven by better performance in new markets and launch of various models, premium car maker BMW on Thursday reported a 12 per cent jump in its sales in the Asia region during 2007 to 1,59,365 units as against 1,42,084 units in 2006.

The company expects fresh models like the sports utility vehicle X6 to push sales beyond 2,00,000 units by 2012.

"Asia is an important part of our future growth and is growing at a rapid pace. We achieved our mid-term sales target of 1.5 lakh units here a year ahead of schedule, which has prompted us to revise our sales target to 2,00,000 units by 2012," BMW Head Sales and Marketing Stefan Krause told reporters in Tokyo.

He said 2007 was a good year for BMW group worldwide with sales touching the highest ever 1.5 million units mark. In India, where the company started formal operations in early 2007, BMW sold 1,387 units, beating the original estimates of 1,000 units.

Majority of sales in India, nearly 80 per cent, included the sedans 3 and 5 series which are locally assembled in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The company also started an international purchasing office in India during 2007 through which it intends to source various components for its global operations. China continued to be one of the biggest and fastest growing markets for BMW during 2007, where it sold 61,098 units, up 36 per cent over the previous year.

Encouraged with the overwhelming response, the company would raise its capacity in the country by 45 per cent to 44,000 units during the next few months.

The company operates in China through a tie up with local partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd to make BMW 3 and 5 Series cars in the northern city of Shenyang, with a current annual capacity of 30,000 units.

However, due to a slowdown in the Japanese car market, BMW reported a marginal 1.7 per cent dip in sales at 61,000 units, but it's premium compact car Mini continued to grow.

It registered sales of 14,000 units, up by 6.3 per cent. BMW sold 19,957 units of Mini in entire Asia, up 15 per cent over 17,374 units in 2006. As many as 2.22 lakh Minis were sold worldwide during the calendar year.

Sales of super luxury car Rolls Royce touched an all time high of 1,000 units worldwide. In Asia, the brand grew 30 per cent during 2007, with Chinese buying nearly 50 per cent of the cars sold in entire continent.

"India and China are the fastest growing markets for the super luxury car. The new coupe model of the Rolls Royce Phantom was very well excepted across Asia," Krause said.