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Wealthy boosts BMW sales

Lory From GAS| January 19 , 2007 17:48 BJT

BMW Corp's sales in China jumped 51.3 percent last year as the growing population of wealthy people created heavy demand for its premier models, the car maker said yesterday.

Sales of vehicles under the BMW and Mini brands climbed to 36,357 units in China's mainland, the Munich-based auto maker said in a statement.

A total of 35,300 units of BMW-branded models were sold last year, a jump of 49.6 percent from 2005. The sales spurt was due to a huge increase for Chinese-made BMW 3 Series and 5 Series, which saw a combined sales of 22,550 units, up 47 percent year on year.

Sales of Mini also rocketed 145.8 percent to 1,057 units last year, the company said. But it did not provide figure for Rolls-Royce which is also under BMW.

BMW, which started localized production in 2005, is on a fast track to expand sales and grab market share from Audi in the world's second largest auto market.

However, BMW's market share with an estimated 15 percent for the premier car segment, still lagged Audi's 48 percent for 2005. DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz models accounted for four percent during the same period.

Audi, the luxury car unit under Volkswagen AG, announced on Tuesday sales in China set a new record last year with 81,708 units, up 39 percent over the previous year.

The sales included 4,486 imported units as well as 77,222 units that were made by Volkswagen's venture with First Automotive Works Group, China's second largest state-owned car maker.

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