German Luxury Car Sales Rise

BERLIN (AP) -- German luxury car makers BMW AG and Audi AG reported strong increases in June sales on Thursday, pointing to increasing demand in China, the United States, Britain and elsewhere.

June sales for the BMW Group, which includes Mini and Rolls-Royce as well as BMW cars and motorcycles, were up 12.2 percent on the year, with 143,157 vehicles delivered.

Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG, said it sold 99,250 cars worldwide last month -- a year-on-year increase of 8.7 percent. Deliveries to China shot up 61.6 percent to 21,436.

Audi's U.S. sales rose 14.3 percent to 8,601 and deliveries in Britain were up 11.6 percent to 8,665. But deliveries in western Europe as a whole dropped 5.3 percent to 55,400, led by a 19.9 percent decline in Germany.

Audi said it sold 554,950 cars in the first half of 2010 -- a 19.1 percent year-on-year rise. It plans to exceed the million-car mark for the full year as it did in 2008 and is on course for a sales record.

BMW said its six-month group sales were up 13.1 percent to 696,026 vehicles. While deliveries of BMW cars were up 14.1 percent, those of the compact Mini rose by a less spectacular 7.6 percent.

"In some cases, the automobile markets are recovering much faster than expected," BMW marketing executive Ian Robertson said in a statement. He added that "we aim to continue this upward trend in the second half of the year."

The BMW group doubled sales to China in the first half, with 75,615 vehicles delivered. BMW and Mini deliveries rose 11.9 percent in the United States to 23,331, while Britain saw growth of 20.4 percent and several other European markets also grew.

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