BMW chief executive Helmut Panke told a press conference at the Paris motor show that, according to provisional figures, the Munich-based car maker expects to increase year to date deliveries to the end of September by "more than 8%" to "more than 880,000" units.

Catering to his audience, Panke noted that France, accounting for more than 42,700 deliveries last year, was the BMW group brands' sixth-largest single market worldwide. "With the overall French market showing a decline of 2% so far this year, we are more than 9% over the last year in September year-to-date."

Panke said the BMW brand had maintained its strength in the global market, with customer deliveries worldwide expected to be about 740,000 by the end of September - over 9% ahead of last year.

Mini deliveries will amount to approximately 140,000 units year to date by the end of this month, placing the brand over 3% above its nine month total in 2003.

"We are very satisfied with Rolls-Royce," asserted Panke, adding that deliveries in the first nine months of this year will be "in the region of 500 units".

"This means that in these nine months alone we have already sold far more Rolls-Royces than throughout the whole of last year," he said.

"Looking at these latest extrapolations, I restate that the BMW Group anticipates new records in retail, revenues and profits for the overall 2004 year of business. 2004 will be another record year for the BMW Group."