BMW expects to achieve double-digit growth in China to help fuel record sales this year.

Chief financial officer Friedrich Eichiner said in Cape Town that the company also foresees a recovery in the US, where it is prepared to invest more money.

He said: "We expect record sales of more than 1.5m units in the group this year with all three brands achieving record sales.

"In China, dougle-digit growth is expected. In countries like Brazil, in Korea and in Russia, in those markets there should be significant growth."

Growing wealth among middle classes is fuelling demand for premium car brands around the world. BMW, which has a joint venture with Brilliance Automotive Holdings, is building a plant in China to raise production to 300,000 vehicles by 2016.

Eichiner said the plant is due to start production this year.