US dealers will invest US$300m in new and modernised facilities this year, BMW North America said.

By the end of 2009, most of the 338 dealerships across the country will have undergone modernisation, BMW NA president Jim O'Donnell (a former head of BMW GB) said at the official opening of Rusnak BMW in Thousand Oaks, California.

Other openings and expansions in 2009 include outlets in Houston, two in New Jersey, Boston and Chicago.

"Investments from our BMW dealers are proof of confidence in the future success of the BMW brand in the US," O'Donnell said. "Today, our network is one of the strongest in the country and we are all working closely together to extend our leading position in the future."

Over the last nine years, the network has invested $2.2 bn to develop the best facilities of any premium brand, he added. The current $300million investment continues this direction.

"Our dealers have led the way with a stronger emphasis on the used car business and it has helped buffer the consequences of declining new car sales in the US," said O'Donnell. "Early on, we and our dealers recognised this opportunity and the used car business has become an even more important part of our strategy for our US success." This is attracting new and younger to the brand, even in the current economic climate, he added.

BMW last year sold about 104,000 factory-backed certified pre-owned vehicles (up 16.4% year on year), and claimed to have the largest used vehicle operation within the premium segment, outselling its closest competitor by over 60%. Results from the first quarter of 2009 indicated CPO sales were on track to increase an additional 15% this year.