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BMW Sees Record 2007 Sales After Bumper 2006

BMW's revenue rose by 5% to a record 49 billion euros ($63.6 billion) in 2006, it said on Friday, reaffirming that its 2006 pretax earnings would hit 4 billion euros.

BMW had already announced that 2006 unit sales rose 3.5% to just over 1.37 million BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce cars, securing its position as the world's largest premium carmaker ahead of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Car Group.

During the Detroit car show this month, sales and marketing chief Michael Ganal nudged the group's 2007 sales target of 1.4 million units up a bit, telling reporters he was confident it could exceed that goal.

On Friday, BMW reiterated that it would sell more than 1.4 million units this year.

"The BMW Group is heading toward a new sales volume record in 2007," Norbert Reithofer, chairman of BMW's management board, said in a statement on Friday.

"We want to maintain our position in the current year as the number one manufacturer in the premium segment. All three brands should achieve new sales volume records."

The last time that BMW reported a decline in annual group vehicle deliveries was 2001, when the Mini first hit showrooms in the second half and also the group's first year following the sale of the Rover and Land Rover brands in 2000.

BMW's top-selling car remains the BMW 3 Series family, whose sales rose 17.1% last year to 508,498 vehicles - 43% of BMW brand sales. That was followed by the BMW 5 Series car, the small BMW 1 Series car and the X3 sport utility vehicle.

In Detroit, Ganal had declined to say whether earnings growth would keep pace this year. Pre-tax profit was nearly 3.29 billion euros in 2005.

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