BMW group said it had sold 1.44 million vehicles from its three brands, BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce in 2008, for a decrease of 4.3% from the previous year.
In December, sales plunged by 26.4% from the same month a year earlier to 112,423 vehicles.
BMW remained the leading high-end auto maker but suffered bigger sales drops than its main rivals. On Jan. 8, Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz autos, posted a drop of 2.8% in 2008 to 1.26 million vehicles. On the other hand, Volkswagen's high-end brand Audi, which has seen sales progress regularly for several years, said it had set a new record with more than one million vehicles, its 13th sales record in a row.
BMW suffered in particular from its strong presence in the U.S., its foremost market ahead of Germany. Sales fell there by 10% on an annual basis to around 303,200 vehicles.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009