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BMW's July Sales Rise

Munich-based automaker BMW AG said Thursday that global sales of its automobiles rose 2.2 percent in July and the company's motorcycle sales jumped 23 percent from last year.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Automaker BMW AG said Thursday that global sales of its automobiles rose 2.2 percent in July, with its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands posting increases. Buyers also sought out the company's motorcycles in droves.

In a nod to buyers looking for more fuel efficiency in light of higher gasoline prices, the Munich-based company also said sales of its motorcycles jumped last month compared with July 2007.

The company said it sold 125,812 cars last month compared with 123,089 last year. Motorcycle sales rose to 11,000 from 8,921 last year, a 23 percent increase.

"We have increased our worldwide sales in July despite difficult business conditions," said Ian Robertson, the BMW executive who oversees sales and marketing. "We intend to maintain our growth plan albeit we will continue to react to the world market situation on a monthly basis."

The BMW brand sales were up 2.2 percent to 106,438 cars sold compared with 104,168 last year. Demand for the 1-, 3-, X5 and X6 series helped bolster the results. The company's Mini brand reported a 2 percent rise in sales, with 19,227 of the small but sporty cars sold, compared with 18,838 last year.

Ultra-luxury brand Rolls-Royce reported 102 cars sold, up nearly 23 percent from the 83 it sold in July 2007.

Last week, BMW revised its earnings outlook for the year downward after a 33 percent slide in second-quarter profit, blaming a drop in U.S. sales, rising costs for raw materials and the strong euro.

Shares of BMW were flat at 27.76 euros ($42.75) in Frankfurt trading.

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