BMW expects 2008 to be another strong year for the company.

Speaking at the company’s annual accounts press conference in Munich today (18 March), BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer, said: “We are aiming towards a current year profit before tax -adjusted for the exceptional gain on the settlement of the exchangeable bond on shares in the British aero engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce, in 2007 – that is higher than in the previous year”.

The autromaker expects to grow sales of all three brands in 2008. In 2007 total sales were up 9.2% to 1,500,678 units. Reithofer reiterated the group’s target of selling 1.8m vehicles worldwide by 2012.

The strong euro and a weak US economy, combined with high raw material prices, were the major challenges faced by the group during 2007. In 2007 adverse currency impact was assessed at EUR517m. Chief financial officer Michael Ganal said that any adverse impact in 2008 would be lower than in 2007 as all of the main currencies are practically fully hedged for the year.

Stricter emission standards were highlighted as a major concern for the future. BMW said it sold 450,000 vehicles in Europe alone equipped with EfficientDynamics. This was expected to rise in 2008 to over 830,000 vehicles.

Specific financial targets for 2008 include a return on capital employed of over 26% and a return on sales of between 8% and 10%.