FRANKFURT -- The BMW Group increased vehicle sales by 7.4 percent to 110,891 vehicles in August, achieving a fresh record for the month even if gains temporarily dropped off from the blistering pace seen so far this year.
"We expect our growth to increase to double-digit figures in September and we are absolutely on track to achieve our goal of over 1.6 million vehicle sales in 2011," group sales chief Ian Robertson said in a statement on Friday.
Volumes were boosted in August by the BMW X3 mid-sized SUV, which more than doubled in the month, and a 39 percent increase in 5-series sales.
BMW's core brand sold 94,882 units in August and managed to keep ahead of rival Audi, whose sales grew 17 percent to 94,100 in the same period. Mercedes sales rose 7.9 percent to 87,384.
Overall sales of BMW Group vehicles including the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands grew 16.8 percent in the first eight months of the year to 1.07 million units.
In August, the group's Mini brand sold 15,761 cars, a rise of 5.2 percent. Boosted by the launch of new models, Mini sales since January have increased by 24.8 percent to 177,829 units.
In the U.S., the company's biggest market, sales of BMW Group cars in August were down marginally at 23,924 vehicles, a drop of 41 vehicles over 2010 figures.
But at home in Germany, BMW's second-biggest market, growth was buoyant in August, with group sales rising 60.3 percent to 23,250 units. By contrast, sales in China, BMW's third-largest market, rose just 8.7 percent in the same period to 18,462 deliveries.
Overall in Europe, group sales rose 11.4 percent to 47,009 units in August.
In July BMW increased its 2011 sales forecast to 1.6 million vehicles from 1.5 million.
Since January, the BMW brand has sold 893,474 cars, a rise of 15.2 percent over 2010 figures.
Audi aims to overtake BMW as the most successful luxury automaker by 2015 and is targeting sales of 1.2 million cars this year. Audi said Thursday that its new-car sales rose 17 percent to 853,000 units in the first eight months.
Mercedes said in July that sales of its Mercedes and Smart brands will probably surpass 1.35 million in 2010, compared with an earlier forecast of 1.3 million.
Sales of the Mercedes brand reached 798,306 units in the first eight months of the year. Sales of Mercedes-Benz Cars, which include the Smart brand, sold 867,379 units since the start of the year. In August, the two brands sold 93,162 cars.
Reuters contributed to this report