BMW Wants to Sell Two Million Vehicles a Year by 2020

Increased production at plants in U.S., Britain and China

Luxury carmaker BMW launched a long-term strategy on Sept. 26 aimed at selling "clearly more than two million vehicles" a year by 2020 while also boosting productivity. BMW sold a record 1.37 million motorcycles and automobiles under the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands in 2006.

Increased productivity should allow the group to make savings of around 6.0 billion euros (8.5 billion dollars) by 2012, the company said.

Chairman Norbert Reithofer said BMW would increase production capacity at its sole U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina to 240,000 units annually. The capacity of the Mini plant in Oxford, Britain would be raised to 260,000 units, while in China, as a first step, production was to increase from the current 30,000 to 44,000 units, he said.

The BMW chairman also said that the Mini brand would offer a sports utility version and confirmed the parent group would make the BMW X1 SUV. A four-door Gran Turismo model based on a concept car presented in Shanghai recently would also go into production, the German group said.

Analysts say BMW must act decisively to maintain record sales while facing the challenges of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, higher commodity prices and the effects of a stronger euro.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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