BMW sales soar to a new record

BMW yesterday reported record first quarter sales thanks to a buoyant market in China.

Group sales increased by 11.2 per cent compared with the same quarter last year, to 425,528 vehicles.

BMW said its 1 Series volume model and a good start for the revamped 3 Series had contributed to the jump. The Rolls-Royce and Mini brands owned by BMW also reported record sales.

The company sold 80,014 cars in China, 37 per cent more than a year ago. Meanwhile BMW said that March had been its best month ever, selling 185,728 vehicles.

“These outstanding results are due to our attractive, young model range and our strategy of healthy, balanced growth across the globe,” said BMW sales chief Ian Robertson.

“The BMW Group achieved an all-time high in sales last month and the best quarter in its history,” added Robertson.

He said the luxury BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé and a model revision of the flagship BMW 7 Series would be launched this year.

BMW reaffirmed its plans to grow faster than the market and achieve new record sales for its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.

China overtook the US as the group’s largest single market in the first quarter, cementing its place as the biggest driver of growth for the premium car industry.

The BMW brand held off rival Audi in their neck-on-neck race for the top spot in the industry.

On Tuesday Audi said it had sold 346,100 Audis in the first quarter, only about 10,000 fewer than the BMW brand.

Mercedes-Benz lagged behind with just 313,902 vehicles sold in the first three months.

BMW profits jumped by 51 per cent to €4.9bn (£4bn) in 2011.

Shares in BMW rose 2.5 per cent yesterday.