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BMW, VW sales up more than 13 pct in 2010

Mon, 01/10/2011 - 8:05am
GEIR MOULSON - Associated Press - Associated Press

German automakers Volkswagen AG and BMW AG both said Monday that their global sales rose by more than 13 percent last year led by strong demand from China and elsewhere in Asia.

Volkswagen said it delivered more than 7 million vehicles for the first time, while BMW said it expects to sell a record number of more than 1.5 million cars in 2011.

Volkswagen's group deliveries totaled 7.14 million in 2010, up from 6.29 million a year earlier, the company said. It didn't give a specific forecast for this year, but board member Christian Klingler said the 2010 figures showed Volkswagen is "forging ahead with our international growth."

The group, which includes brands such as Audi, Skoda and Seat, reported an even stronger rise in December. Sales last month totaled 545,000 cars — up 22.8 percent over December 2009.

Worldwide sales of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce cars totaled 1.46 million last year, up from nearly 1.29 million in 2009. The group sold 141,358 cars in December, 14.2 percent more than a year earlier.

BMW board member Ian Robertson said he expects sales to exceed 1.5 million in 2011 — "setting new record highs."

"While we closely watch some ongoing economic uncertainties throughout the world, we are certain to continue benefiting from our young model line-up," Robertson said in a statement.

Volkswagen's full-year sales in China rose 37.4 percent to 1.92 million. It saw a huge increase in demand in India, where sales soared 181 percent to 53,500, and deliveries across the Asia-Pacific region rose by 38.5 percent to 2.14 million.

The company's U.S. deliveries rose 20.9 percent to 360,300.

In its German home market, Volkswagen — like other mass-market manufacturers — suffered from comparison with 2009, when a popular government car-scrapping bonus program boosted sales.

Deliveries in Germany were down 16.8 percent at 1.04 million cars, but sales elsewhere in western Europe were up 11.6 percent at 1.85 million.

BMW said its group sales in 2010 increased in "virtually all markets."

In China, it said it benefited from strong demand for its high-end models. BMW's sales in China were up 59.5 percent in December, when 16,132 BMW and Mini cars were sold. For the full year, sales there were up a sharper 86.7 percent to 168,998.

Sales in the U.S. were 16.9 percent higher last month at 27,600 cars, with the company crediting full availability of its 5 series and strong demand for X5 and X6 cars produced in Spartanburg, South Carolina. For all of 2010, sales were 9.9 percent higher at 265,757 cars.

BMW's December sales rose 16.6 percent at 23,550 in Germany, its biggest market. For the full year they were up 3.1 percent at 266,009 as luxury carmakers' sales were relatively unaffected by the car-scrapping bonus.

The core BMW brand sold more than 1.22 million cars worldwide in 2010 — a 14.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Mini sales rose 8.1 percent to 234,175 and the luxury Rolls-Royce brand notched its highest sales figures since BMW took over the automaker seven years ago, selling 2,711 cars — a 171 percent increase.

However, that was still short of the all-time record of 3,357 cars in 1978, Rolls-Royce spokesman Andrew Ball said.

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