BMW expects unit sales for the first nine months of the year to rise to 800,000 vehicles and has again raised its Mini sales target for this year, according to a Reuters report.

Interviewed by Reuters, BMW chief executive Helmut Panke said BMW brand sales had risen 5% for the first nine months of the year despite depressed global car markets and total unit sales would rise 19%, including sales of the Mini launched only late last year.

Panke also told Reuters that the company had again raised its estimate of Mini unit sales for 2002 and they would be "about 10 percent" above a previous target of 120,000 vehicles.

According to Reuters, Panke said that the Mini's profit margins would be lower than that of other BMW cars in its first life cycle which in the case of BMW models is usually seven years.

"We will not hit our usual profitability targets in the Mini's first life cycle," Panke told Reuters. "But we won't lose any money either."