BMW aims for sales record

Tokyo. BMW wants a final push in the fourth quarter to help further increase its sales.

"In September we had a clear increase in comparison to the semiannual figures, and the increase continued in October," BMW CEO Helmut Panke told Automobilwoche at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Panke said the BMW Group expected better results once the new 5 series was launched.

"We are on course," Panke said. "However, this time we have an atypical seasonal sales pattern with the BMW brand."

He confirmed the automaker is above last year's sales figures for the Mini, BMW and Rolls-Royce brands.

In 2002, the BMW Group sold 1.057 million cars and aims to increase overall sales approximately 2 percent.

"Lets wait to see if it will be exactly that or a tenth more or less," Panke said.

Despite the current product offensive, Panke said he believes that the group's total result this year -- both before and after tax -- will be similar to that of 2002. The anticipated range is a boost of 5-10 percent.

Panke also is optimistic about 2004. "Economic indicators are pointing up in Europe, North America and Asia, which means that the car industry can start moving again."

He is particularly excited about better times in Asia thanks to optimism in Japan, continued growth in China and a fast recovery of the southeast Asian markets.

In China, where BMW recently started to sell the first 3 series models built in the country, Panke expects a huge sales increase within the next five years.

Tags: Automakers BMW