BMW has raised daily production of its new X3 compact sports utility vehicle to 400 from 300 to meet what it called a boom in demand.

According to Reuters, BMW said that during the first quarter of 2004 it had delivered 11,000 units of the four-wheel drive SUV, which is built by Canadian-owned Magna Steyr at its plant in Graz, Austria.

“After its successful introductory stage the… BMW X3 is in vigorous demand on the Europe and American markets,” the Bavarian company reportedly said in a statement, adding that a UK launch in May, followed by Japan in June, would speed up sales further.

Reuters said sales volumes in the United States, which last year became BMW’s biggest single market, reached about 4,500 during the first three months of the year, followed by Germany with sales of around 2,500 and Italy, where roughly 1,000 X3s were sold.

BMW, which is counting on the biggest model offensive in the company’s history to help fuel record profits this year, said on Tuesday that March had proved its best month ever after unit sales rose 5.6% year-on-year to 113,000 vehicles, the report noted.