November 23, 2012 / 7:11 AM / 5 years ago

BMW sees room for more growth in China's luxury car market

BEIJING (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) sees continued double-digit sales gains in China next year as the luxury car market there, at 9-10 percent of overall sales, still lags the developed world, where the luxury segment accounts for 15 percent of the total.

The logo of German car manufacturer BMW is seen on the bonnet of a vehicle covered with water drops in Kiev March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

The German firm, which is building a second plant in northeast China to initially double its capacity to 200,000 vehicles, later rising to 300,000, expects to sell 1 million cars in China over the next three years, Duan Jianjun, deputy sales chief at BMW’s venture with the state-owned parent of Hong Kong-listed Brilliance China Automotive Holdings (1114.HK), told Internet portal Sohu.com at the Guangzhou auto show.

China’s luxury car market has lost some of its steam after years of break-neck growth, though demand for high-end cars remains robust as personal wealth grows.

“We have sold 1 million cars in China so far. We will strive to sell another million in the next three years,” Duan said.

BMW’s China car sales grew 35 percent in January-October from a year earlier, five times the growth rate of the overall market, and topping Audi’s (VOWG_p.DE) 31.2 percent and Mercedes-Benz’s (DAIGn.DE) 8 percent growth.

Daniel Kirchert, senior vice president at BMW’s China venture, told Sohu.com separately that the venture was preparing to launch a China-only car. He did not elaborate. BMW and Brilliance plan to produce 200,000 4-cylinder, 2-litre petrol engines a year at an engine plant in Shenyang.

Reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING and Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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