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BMW upstages Mercedes

2008-01-11 07:54
German luxury car maker BMW retained the number one spot among high-end manufacturers last year with a 9.2% increase in sales to 1.5 million vehicles, it said on Wednesday.

All three BMW brands contributed to the results, with BMW-nameplate cars posting a increase of more than eight percent at 1.28 million units.

The Mini division saw sales leap by 19 percent to more than 200 000 vehicles, while Rolls-Royce turned in a 26% increase to more than 1 000 limousines.

BMW surpassed German rival Mercedes-Benz, which on Tuesday reported record 2007 sales that gained 2% to 1.29 million vehicles.

"Overall, the BMW Group is once again the world's leading supplier in the premium automobile segment in terms of volume sales," a statement quoted sales and marketing director Stefan Krause as saying.

"We are optimistic that we will reach this top position again in 2008."

The group reinforced its market positions in the United States, Western Europe and Asia, with 3 Series models representing almost 40% of all sales.

In its domestic market however, sales fell by 4%, with sector experts putting the results down in large part to an increase in the country's value added tax from 16 to 19% in January 2007.

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