After a strong 2007 in which overall sales increased by 25%, BMW is optimistic that another strong year is in prospect for its Rolls-Royce luxury car brand.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual BMW Group accounts conference in Munich, Ian Robertson, new board member for sales and marketing who moves to that job from being CEO of Rolls-Royce, told just-auto that he expects to see good growth for the brand in 2008. 

"2007 was a great year for us. We ended the year about 25% up worldwide and we were very pleased with that - we broke the 1,000 number for the first time ever and we have started very strongly this year.

"The order bank on the drophead convertible is exceptionally strong and runs all the way through into the middle of 2009 - with some markets even further than that.

"And at Geneva just two weeks ago we unveiled the coupe and we're already sitting on orders that take that into 2009 as well.

"So, all in all, we expect to see pretty good growth during this year."

Chairman of the board Dr Norbert Reithofer had earlier warned that the effects of the financial crisis unfolding in the US and elsewhere were at this stage uncertain but that all consumer goods sectors could be impacted, including sales of BMW Group products.

Responding to questions about BMW sales prospects in the US (the company's largest single market), he said that he was sticking to comments made in January at the Detroit Show when he said that the company hoped to achieve 'at least' the same volume this year as in 2007.

Dave Leggett

See also: GERMANY: BMW boosts Brit

GERMANY: Rolls-Royce man becomes BMW sales chief

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GERMANY: Rolls-Royce sales top 1,000