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BMW Mainland Sales Growth Slows down

German luxury car firm BMW Monday reported a slump in its sales growth on the Chinese mainland in the first 10 months of this year, but the overall situation remains better than the global average.

The company sold 13,461 BMW and Mini cars on the mainland during the period, a year-on-year rise of 12 percent, BMW's Beijing office told China Daily.

The growth was down from a staggering 176 percent last year compared with 2002.

But BMW Group Chairman Helmut Panke stressed that growth in China remains "quite strong... stronger than the average level globally."

The company's global sales rose 8.8 percent year-on-year to 887,293 cars in the first nine months of this year.

"Last year, we discussed 80 to 100 percent growth (for overall car sales in China). But it cannot grow with doubling each year... Growth this year will be lower than last year because of the soft landing of China's economy and the auto industry," Panke said.

China is taking a host of measures, including an interest rate increase at the end of last month, to cool its overheating economy. The auto industry is one of the most overheated sectors, others include real estate and steel.

"We will continue to invest in China, one of our key markets worldwide," Panke said.

BMW now runs a joint venture with China Brilliance Auto in Shenyang, the capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, which started to produce 3 and 5 series sedans late last year with an annual capacity of 30,000 units.

(China Daily November 9, 2004)

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