BMW Group sales in 2012 totalled 1,845,186 units worldwide, up 10.6% year on year. All three brands – BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce posted records last year.

December sales rose 14.8% to 181,571 units.

Sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said: “2012 was a very successful year for us. The BMW group achieved its best ever sales result for the second year in a row and expanded its lead in the premium segment. Our success can be attributed to our attractive model portfolio, the strength of our premium brands, as well as a strategy of balanced sales across all continents.

“We enter the new year with positive momentum and despite the prevailing headwinds in some markets, we aim to achieve another record year in sales in 2013. This year marks the beginning of a new era for the [group] as we launch the all-electric BMW i3 towards the end of the year.”

BMW brand sales sales rose 11.6% last year to a record 1,540,085 vehicles. December sales were up 18.8% to 152,286. Sales of the redesigned 1 series rose 28.6% in 2012 while X1 small SUV volume was up 16.9% to 147,776. The brand’s signature car, the 3 Series sedan redesigned just over a year ago led its segment globally with 294,039 deliveries, up 22.4% while overall 3 Series sales rose 5.8% to 406,752.

X3 volume was up 27.1% to 149,853 units.

Global sales at MINI rose 5.8% to 301,526 though December volume slipped 2.4% to 28,751. The Countryman – contract built by Magna Steyr in Austria – accounted for 102,250 units, up 14.8%. BMW expects more growth following the launch of the three-door Paceman spin-off this coming spring.

The US remained the largest market for MINI, with a record 66,123 cars sold there last year, followed by the UK (50,367).

Rolls-Royce sales reached 3,575, the third consecutive record, after steady expansion of the model line. December deliveires were up 12% to 534.

Despite the challenges in Europe, it remained the group’s largest sales region with volume up 0.8% to 864,812 last year. The UK is the biggest RHD maket globally and sales here rose 4.3% to 174,215.

Russian volume climbed 33% to a record 40,144.

Asian sales rose 31.6% last year to 491,512 with mainland China taking 326,444 BMW and MINI cars, up 40.4%.

There was also double-digit growth in South Korea (33,500; +22.3%), the Middle East (21,314; +14.2%) and Japan (56,607; +18.9%).

Americas group sales rose 11.9% to 424,379 with US sales up 13.8% to 347,583 units and BMW top premium brand there.