BMW's China sales up 20 per cent in Jan-Sept, eyes record sales

BEIJING (Reuters) - German luxury car maker BMW said its China sales rose more than 20 percent in the first nine months of this year, paving the way for another year of record sales in the world's biggest automobile market.

The company sold 284,964 BMW and MINI vehicles in China in the January to September period, up 20.2 percent from a year earlier.

That compares with a 12.7 percent growth in China's vehicle market and a nine percent growth in BMW's global deliveries during the same period.

"The stable growth ... laid a solid foundation for achieving another sales record for the year of 2013," Karsten Engel, chief executive of BMW Group China said in a statement on Saturday.

China, which is expected to surpass the United States as the biggest premium car market by the end of the decade, is key to other luxury marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley.

This year, Daimler unveiled plans to open a museum in Beijing showcasing its Mercedes-Benz brand, and British supercar maker McLaren opened its first showroom in China.

As part of BMW's global push to win market share, it has stepped up investment in brand stores and dealershops in China, and introduced Apple-style customer services.