BMW Group sales, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, rose 11.4% to 159,214 vehicles in September, boosted in particular by the X3 and X1 SUV models.

It was also the most successful third quarter for the company with sales reaching 399,218 vehicles from July through September, an increase of 9% over 2010.

That has made it the best first nine months for the company, with sales up 16% over last year to 1,232,584.

Ian Robertson, sales and marketing chief, said: “We made solid gains right across the globe and once again achieved record sales for September which contributed to a record third quarter.

“At the end of the third quarter we find ourselves well on course to deliver our target of more than 1.6m vehicles in 2011 and to remain the clear number one among premium manufacturers.”

The BMW brand reported worldwide sales of 128,446 vehicles exceeding last September’s figure by 9.3%. The strongest gains were made by the X3, with 11,345 sales, up 260.6%.

Mini saw worldwide sales grow 20.5% to 30,387 with the major contributor being the new Countryman.

September saw the group increase retail volumes in its three largest markets of Germany, the US and China, among others. In Germany the company reported a 9.9% increase to 23,809 registrations. In the US sales grew 11.4% to 25,749 vehicles.

Rolls-Royce sales have maintained strong momentum between January and September with a total of 2,441 deliveries so far this year, up 41%.