SHANGHAI -- BMW AG, the world's largest maker of premium cars, said on Monday that sales of imported and locally made vehicles in China rose just 4 percent in the first half, underperforming its global performance.
BMW sold 9,427 vehicles in mainland China from January to June, among which were 7,034 cars assembled by a local joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. The venture sold 6,389 units in the same period of 2004.
Sales in the greater China area -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- climbed 3.2 percent in the first half to 13,852 units, versus 50,071 units across Asia, BMW said in a statement.
Monthly figures were not given.
Unusually, BMW's China sales lagged a 9.4 percent rise in Group global car sales in the first half of 2005 to 645,531 automobiles, reported last week.
China, once an easy profit center providing double-digit margins, has become one of the industry's most intense battlegrounds.
Foreign auto makers such as General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are investing $15 billion to triple capacity to over 7 million cars by 2008 -- sparking fears of a glut.
Analysts say car sales are expected to grow just 10 to 15 percent this year, matching growth in 2004 but well off a doubling in 2003.