FRANKFURT (AP) -- German carmaker BMW AG said Thursday that its sales in Russia increased by 31 percent last year despite the slowing economy.
The Munich-based maker of sports and luxury cars said it sold 19,236 BMW and Mini cars in Russia in 2008, up from 14,686 in 2007.
"We aim to keep growing the BMW Group's retail sales in Russia," Ian Robertson, the board member responsible for sales and marketing, said in a statement. "In 2009, we aim to break through the 20,000 vehicle mark."
Robertson said BMW also intends to increase the number of dealerships in Russia in 2009 from the current 47 to 56.
BMW said more than two-thirds of the cars sold in Russia were in the upper and luxury segments, while sales of models in the compact and middle sectors continued to grow.
The company said sales in Russia were driven by the BMW 1 series, which saw a 150 percent increase in sales over the prior year.
Shares of BMW were down 2.4 percent at euro18.90 ($24.19) in Frankfurt morning trading.