BMW aims for record third year after January sales boost
Audi starts year ahead of core BMW brand in race for top spot
MUNICH -- BMW said it aims for a third year of record sales in 2013 after January sales got off to a good start.
Sales of the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands rose by 9.9 percent to 123,276 vehicles last month, an all-time high for January, BMW said in a statement on Friday.
BMW Group sales gained in all the company's major markets. European sales grew 8 percent to 50,594 vehicles. U.S. volume was up 2.3 percent to 20,195 and sales in China grew 14.7 percent to 30,397.
BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said the company expects healthy growth in Asia and the Americas to offset headwinds in Europe.
BMW brand sales in January were up 11.5 percent to 107,276, driven by a 28 percent increase sales of the BMW 3 series. Mini sales were up by 0.6 percent to 15,864. BMW said the launch of the Paceman in the spring will boost Mini.
Audi, Mercedes chase No. 1 spot
BMW, the world's biggest luxury-vehicle maker since 2005, is working to stave off challenges by second-ranked Audi and third-place Mercedes-Benz unit for the top spot by the end of the decade.
Audi has started the year ahead of BMW brand after its global sales rose 16 percent to 111,750 vehicles in January, propelled by a 39 percent jump in deliveries in China, its biggest national market.
Global sales at Mercedes rose 9 percent to 94,895 vehicles, helped by demand for the A- and B-class compacts and its SUV line-up. Growth was damped as customers held off purchases of the upscale E-class and high-end S-class sedans until new versions of the models come out later this year.
"Audi might take the lead in one month or another this year because of their strong market position in China, the main growth market, but for the full year, I still expect BMW to be ahead," said Christian Ludwig, a Dusseldorf-based analyst at Bankhaus Lampe. "BMW has some product advantages, as they are rolling out the 3-series GT and the new 4-series in the volume segment this year."
Bloomberg contributed to this report
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