BMW expects to increase its US market share and benefit from double-digit growth rates in US auto industry sales over the next two years, North America President Jim O'Donnell has said.

"We would expect to at least mirror the U.S. industry. At least," O'Donnell told Reuters in an interview in Traverse City, Michigan. "We expect to do a little better because we have lots of new cars coming out."

O'Donnell said he was optimistic about the US economy in general and for BMW's sales growth, forecasting at least 10% growth for the US industry in 2011 and 2012 from about an 11.4m vehicle base this year.

"I don't think we're going to have a double-dip (recession)," O'Donnell said. "We're not planning for it."

The redesigned X3 small SUV scheduled to go on sale in January is seen as a kep product after BMW captured the small SUV market when it introduced the X3 in the United States in 2003, but lost leadership to Mercedes Benz and Audi.

"I don't think we can ever get back to that dominance because we were virtually unmatched," O'Donnell said. "I think what we'd like to do is be up there as a serious challenger to the two existing dominant players."

BMW's sales of the X3 were up 16% in the first half of the year to more than 3,400, while the brand's sales were up 7.6% in the first half of the year overall.

"Now, I think we've got something that we can really compete head-on with them. And I'm comfortable that we'll do at least 20,000 units," O'Donnell told Reuters.

He's recently launched the redesigned 5 series. "The 5 series is, if not the most important, certainly the second-most important product that we have in North America in both volume and in a profit point of view," he said. "It's crucially important to our success. It's what epitomises BMW in North America. It will be very successful."

Once the full range is in showrooms in mid-2011: "we will again become the top dog in that segment."

About half of BMW's sales in the United States are leases, a figure that has been decreasing, he said.

"We're happy with 50%," lease rate, he said. "But it seems to be gradually to be going down a bit because people, I think, want to feel the security of owning something."