MUNICH -- U.S. orders for German luxury carmaker BMW's new 3-series car have got off to a better-than-expected start, Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause told Reuters on Monday.
"The pre-launch orders are very, very good, far above expectations," he said on the sidelines of an industry conference. He did not give any concrete numbers.
The new 3 series -- BMW's top-selling model which has also beaten expectations in Europe since its launch in early March -- hits the U.S. market on May 6.
Krause reiterated BMW's target of boosting 2005 unit sales by 6 percent to 9 percent.
He said BMW remained positive about the U.S. market despite the sluggish sales from domestic heavyweights General Motors and Ford Motor Co.
"There is still enormous potential in the United States," he said, noting that BMW was not affected by the "American problems" weighing on GM and Ford such as health care and pension liabilities and Standard & Poor's downgrades of their debt to junk status.
He also suggested the premium segment of the overall U.S. car market was relatively underdeveloped and thus had upside potential.
The U.S. market is BMW's biggest, accounting for around a quarter of car sales. BMW is more than 50 percent hedged against its dollar exposure this year.
Krause said there was no target on how much to boost this level, adding it was continually making tactical hedging transactions but eschewing long-term strategic hedges given the unfavurable euro-dollar exchange rate at present.