BMW AG expects its forecast for a rise in 2004 unit sales to be reflected in this year's profits, its chief executive was quoted as saying by a German newspaper on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, BMW sold 1.1 million cars last year and aims to raise its unit sales to 1.4 million a year by 2008.

"We expect that a further rise in unit sales will also be reflected in sales and earnings," BMW chief executive Helmut Panke reportedly told financial daily Boersen-Zeitung in an interview, adding: "It would not be sufficient to remain at the previous year's earnings level."

Earlier this month, Panke told Reuters that BMW would match 2002's profit of €3.3 billion ($US4.2 billion) in 2003. BMW releases it 2003 results on March 11.