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BMW GB will own the entire fleet of dealer demonstrator 5 series vehicles, the UK product manager for the 5 and 6 series, Michelle Roberts, said at the press launch last week.

This is already the case for for 7 series and other high value models used by the 150-dealer UK network.

“We control the disposal of these cars, improving residual values, which in turn ensures the competitive leasing rates which are very important in the business and fleet market sector which will account for 70% of registrations,” Roberts told just-auto.

The UK is the third largest market for the 5, accounting for 8% of production, after the US (25%) and Germany (17%).

Roberts said UK business users and fleet buyers account for 70% of annual 5 sales, diesel models take 90% of registrations and the new eight-speed automatic transmission will be the choice of 90% of customers.

“The 520d, now with automatic start-stop for the first time, is expected to be the top selling model in both saloon and Touring (wagon) body styles with around 60% of the total volume,” she said.

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“We expect to sell around 8,000 saloons this year and 12,000 plus in 2011.” Touring versions traditionally add 4,000 units to the annual sales total, she added.

M Sport versions are expected to arrive in the next year and an M5 saloon is a possibility but an M5 Touring might not be added to the UK model range due to the small sales numbers.