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BMW will boost U.S. prices 2.1% on ’09 models

BMW of North America LLC said Monday that it will raise U.S. vehicle prices 2.1 percent across its lineup of BMW-branded vehicles for the 2009 model year.

In a statement, BMW cited rising raw material costs for the price increases. The company said its 2009 vehicles will arrive at dealerships in October.

The price increase on U.S. vehicles is BMWs second since June, when it raised prices on its 2008 lineup by 1 percent.

The significant structural and economic changes in the marketplace are prompting all automakers to further refine actions to respond to these pressures, Jim ODonnell, president of BMW of North America, said in a statement. At BMW, were responding with a number of internal efficiency improvements to offset our increased costs so that we can keep this price increase modest.

Automakers and their suppliers are facing pressure from price increases on raw materials such as steel. BMW also has had to cope with a weak dollar, which makes it more expensive to build vehicles in Europe and sell them in the United States.

In the United States, BMW division sales slipped 8.0 percent, to 155,427 units, in the first seven months of the year.

In recent months, the German automaker has made cost cuts. BMWs profit this year is projected to be down about 40 percent from 2007.

Despite headwinds in the market and the cost cuts, BMW in June said it plans to spend more than $1 billion on U.S. operations. That will include a $750 million investment at BMWs lone U.S. plant, in Spartanburg, S.C. The plant makes the BMW Z4 coupe and roadster and X3 and X5 crossovers.

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