Bmw Group Sales Rise 7% in May

By: Lauren Woods

The Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, popularly known as the BMW AG, is the world's largest premium carmaker and it increased sales by seven percent to 128,408 vehicles in May. The increase in sales is helped by a sharp rise in demand for the X5 sport-utility vehicle and the revamped Mini, the company announced last Friday.

The sales of its core BMW brand increased 5.8 percent to 108,488 units, while Mini deliveries rose just over 14 percent to 19,864 cars. The deliveries helped the company's retro-styled model to break the one million mark in sales since its introduction to the market in mid-2001. The automaker overtook DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes division as the world's biggest luxury-car maker two years ago with the debut of the 1-Series small car, the X3 SUV and a new version of the 3-Series sedan.

In the first five months of 2007, deliveries of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles rose by 2.1 percent amounting to 580,043 units. BMW Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer has forecast overall group sales will rise at a high-single-digit percentage rate in 2007 to over 1.4 million vehicles, with all three brands posting delivery records. BMW-brand sales rose 5.8 percent from a year earlier to 108,488 units, while Mini sales increased 14 percent to 19,864 cars. The automaker sold 56 Rolls-Royce super-luxury cars however that seems unchanged from a year ago.

BMW introduced the new X5 and Mini at the end of 2006. The company expects sales to reach a record of at least 1.4 million vehicles this year, Reithofer said in April. Additionally, BMW will introduce the Mini Clubman and a new Rolls-Royce car this year.

Audi's sales rose more than ten percent last month to more than 87,000 vehicles, a record, as demand surged in China and in the United States.

The relaunch of its popular X5 offroader as well as the 3 Series coupe and cabrio derivatives should help spur growth this year, BMW has said. "Demand for these models is above expectations," the company said in a statement, saying deliveries of the 3 Series coupe had nearly quadrupled versus a year ago and the cabrio model more than doubled.

The X5, a midsize luxury crossover SUV, features all wheel drive and a line of straight-6 and V8 engines. For non-US models, the vehicle features the 3.0 L diesel engine mated to a . The 3 Series, on the other hand, is an entry-level luxury car manufactured by the German automaker since 1975. In 2005, the 3 Series is the company's best selling luxury sedan in the United States with 98,000 units sold.

BMW has also refreshed the 1 Series compact and 5 Series full-sized models in March and rolled out a 3-door version of the 1 Series last month. By comparison, smaller rival Audi earlier this week reported a ten percent increase in deliveries to some 87,000 units, as VW's premium brand maintained its average monthly sales growth rate of about ten percent this year. The sales are sustained by the demand for its new Q7 sport utility vehicle.

Mercedes Car Group, which includes the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, said that sales advanced by 2.9 percent to a record 116,000 cars and sport-utility vehicles in May. Sales rose as auto shoppers bought the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan and an updated version of the two-seat Smart, the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker said last June 5. A plunge in sales earlier this year at its Smart minicar unit ahead of a model change has resulted to delivery declines, 1.6 percent lower to 500,500 units in the first five months.

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