BMW, Mini China sales up 37.6% in 2011 image

German automaker BMW Ag on Friday said it has sold 232, 586 BMW and Mini vehicles last year in China – up 37.6 percent.

Sales of BMW brands rose 37 percent to 217,068 cars, with Mini sales up 47.7 percent to 15,518, it said in a statement.

In the Greater China area, which also includes Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, deliveries of BMW and Mini came to 250,658 cars, up 37.2 percent from the previous year.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Thursday that total vehicle sales rose to 18.5 million last year, up from 18 million in 2010, when sales rose 32 percent.

“China’s auto sales growth won’t reach anywhere near the past couple of years as it scales back to a more sustainable pace,” said Jenny Gu, an analyst at industry researcher LMC Automotive in Shanghai. “The past few years were boosted by government incentives.”

Foreign brand vehicles enjoy a reputation for higher quality and brand value compared with most local competitors. Automakers are also beginning to sell China-made vehicles elsewhere, taking advantage of lower costs and proximity to other developing markets.