BMW sales jumped 5% in 2006 as the luxury carmaker sold a record 1.37 million cars worldwide. Sales for the year totalled £32.2bn. Chairman Norbert Reithofer claimed 2006 was "the best in the company's history" and predicted sales would rise to 1.4 million cars in 2007. However, the forecast came as analysts warned that producers of gas-guzzling cars faced growing pressure from European environmental regulations.
BMW also said that expanding its UK plant in Oxford had led to a decline in sales of its Mini cars. The company, whose other marques include Rolls-Royce, said sales of Minis fell by 6.2% in 2006, while 188,077 Minis were assembled at the Oxford plant. After the rebuilding programme has been completed, the Oxford factory should have a capacity of 240,000 cars a year, the company said.
BMW is amongst potential losers if the European Commission's imminent review of carbon emissions recommends a tax-based approach to reducing pollution, a report from Citigroup Research has claimed. Citigroup's automobile industry report said that should taxes be introduced that would penalise larger vehicles, then makers of smaller cars such as Fiat may benefit.