BMW's decision to expand production at its Mini factory in Oxford is paying dividends as worldwide sales continue to rise.

Stefan Krause, the BMW board member responsible for Mini, said at the Detroit show that new sales records had been set during 2007.

"Worldwide we sold 222,000 Minis and that is 18.5% up on last year which shows that the decision to invest further in Oxford was the right one."

He promised more to come from Mini in the future. "The next model planned is a crossover which will convey the same driving fun and go-kart feeling as our other models, but paired with other functional features."

Although Krause gave no further details it is understood that the new Mini crossover will be ready for production around 2010.

He also said that Mini would be forming a new sub-brand following its acquisition of John Cooper Works.

"All performance-related products and activities will be marketed under this sub-brand in future."

The Clubman, launched in the UK last year, will go on sale in the USA in mid-February he said. Mini also plans to expand its US dealer network from 82 to 95 by 2010.

More than 42,000 Minis were sold in North America last year making it the second largest market in the world for the brand behind the UK.

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