New models like the controversially-styled 7-series could help BMW head the US luxury car sector for the first time, knocking Lexus off its perch for the last two years, Bloomberg News reported.

BMW sold 78,386 cars and light trucks in the firs four months of the year compared with 75,164 for Lexus, the news agency said.

Bloomberg said BMW has increased 7 series sales 55% this year and also boosted X5 volume by 14% on top of doubling sales in the five years to the end of 2001 to 213,127 vehicles.

That's twice the luxury-brand average for the past three years, Ward's AutoInfoBank told Bloomberg.

"We're working flat out in most of our plants," BMW North America chief executive Tom Purves told Bloomberg in an interview.

"We're ahead of our own plans this year and if we keep running at this pace we'll probably ask for more cars from other markets." Puves added in the Bloomberg News interview.