The BMW Group claims to have ended 2002 with a new sales record: 1.057 million vehicles delivered to customers last year, an increase of 17 percent (prev.yr. 905,657). Sales of the BMW brand rose to 913,000 units (880,677), almost 4%. The MINI brand was also strong with 144,000 vehicles sold in 2002, its first full year.

BMW motorcycles achieved record sales for the tenth time in a row: sales rose 9% to over 92,000 units (84,713).

Speaking at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), BMW chairman Helmut Panke said the worldwide launch of the new BMW 7 series model range and the start of the Z4 roadster in the USA were major milestones in the past financial year. In the first year after the model change of the 7 series, over 60% more vehicles were sold than in the previous year (32,749), despite early criticism of the car’s styling and complex electronic controls.

Said Panke: “We are expecting the premium segments once again to develop better in 2003 than the mass segments. The BMW Group is in an excellent position to continue its dynamic development in the year 2003 too.”

Panke noted that 2003 would be one of the most important product years for the BMW Group: At the beginning of the year, the Rolls-Royce brand begins expanding the company’s line in the absolute top segment – which means that the BMW Group is represented in the premium sector with three brands for the first time.

The newly developed Rolls-Royce limousine is the curtain-raiser for the largest product offensive that the BMW Group has ever undertaken within a year: within the BMW brand, the new 5 series will be launched. In addition, two completely new model series will be presented with the X3 small SUV and 6 series coupé. These will be joined by three updated 3 series variants including restyled coupe and cabriloet lines.

A diesel Mini with a Toyota engine will also be launched in Europe during 2003.

“With our clearly expanded product range, we intend to increase sales by 40% by the year 2008 – to 1.4 million vehicles. We will be raising the BMW group to a completely new level”, Panke said in Detroit.