With vehicle production expected to exceed 1.4m vehicles this year, BMW is closing in on its medium-term plan to produce 1.6m cars a year.

This will not necessarily mean new factories, said Frank-Peter Arndt, management board member in charge of production.

"We have enough room to breathe in all our plants to handle this increase," he added - but with one exception.

"We will have to take a decision on our plant in China this year."

BMW currently has an agreement with Chinese joint venture partner Brilliance to produce 30,000 vehicles a year at their plant in Shenyang.

This can increase to 40,000 but Arndt added: "Brilliance has its own products and it is very likely that this plant will be too small for two ambitious partners. We are currently looking at our future plans for production in China."