Sales of BMW Group have fallen 8.3% in October over the same month last year, leading the German automaker to say it no longer expects to exceed last year’s full year sales tally in 2008.

Year-to-date sales were up by 0.7% compared with the same period last year. The number of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand automobiles sold rose by 8,492 vehicles to 1,226,990 units.

But faced with what it called “persistently challenging market conditions and ongoing consumer reticence in Western Europe, Japan and the United States”, the company saw sales decrease 8.3% in October, to 113,005 deliveries worldwide.

Ian Robertson, BMW’s sales and marketing boss: “Faced with the extremely challenging conditions in the automotive markets, we no longer expect to exceed last year’s record sales for the full year. In most Western European markets, Japan and the United States, sales for October were again lower than those for the same month last year. Equally the retail gains made in our growth markets were unable to fully offset those reductions. We have adjusted our production output to reflect the market and remain focussed on balancing supply and demand in the forthcoming months.”

The company said that some 1,023,743 BMW brand automobiles were delivered to customers in the period to the end of October, down 1.1% on the same period last year. In the first ten months of 2008, Mini sales climbed 10.5% to reach a total of 202,302 units. Rolls-Royce was also able to make gains during the period – 945 automobiles were delivered to customers: an increase of 37.8%.

In October sales of the BMW brand fell 9.2%. Mini sales fell 3.4%, whilst Rolls-Royce sales were up 10.3%.

On Tuesday (04 November) BMW reported its thirds quarter financials saying that it was no longer possible to forecast full year results for 2008.

“Difficult business conditions and the volatile climate on the market mean that it is as good as impossible from today’s perspective to make a reliable prediction of the earning outcome for the financial year 2008. We will, however, achieve a result that is clearly positive,” chairman Norbert Reithofer said.

Group revenues were down 8.6% to EUR12,588m, EBIT fell 60.2% to EUR387m, pre-tax profit fell 63.5% to EUR279m and profit after tax fell 62.9% to EUR298m.

Yesterday, (6 November) BMW’s Mini unit confirmed to just-auto that it was adding an extra two weeks to its annual two-week UK factory Christmas shutdown, taking about 9,000 cars out of the schedule.

A spokesman told just-auto the move was “proactive” as auto industry sales were now clearly falling worldwide but noted the Oxford plant should still end up making the same number of cars this year, or slightly more, than in 2007.