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BMW/Mini to set 100,000 sales target

BMW GB expects to reach a record 80,000 this year and managing director Jim O'Donnell has set a target for 2002 of more than 100,000 with Mini included.

"With low interest rates and a fundamentally sound UK economy I am optimistic that 2002 will be another good year," said Mr O'Donnell, at the company's annual press dinner in London.

Publicity over high prices last year had created a "dam of pent-up demand". The industry-wide price readjustment at the end of 2000 unlocked that demand and led to a record year for the UK in 2001.

Yet the average price of a BMW sold this year was higher than the average in 2000.

BMW had some 20 new models in the pipeline starting with the 7 series in March. He was confident that the new 7 would "spark a long overdue rethink of how luxury cars will be seen."

New 1 and 6 series and the X3 - developed in conjunction with Steyr Daimler Puch - would also be launched shortly. Brightest spot of this year was the launch of Mini with 95% of buyers opting for the 5-year TLC (Tender Loving Care) package, said Mr O'Donnell.

The biggest challenge over the coming months would be the CO2-linked company car tax - "I think there will be a few white faces when people open their April pay packets," he said.

There were predictions 600,000 'perk' users could opt back in to the company car scheme, "and those are the buyers that BMW will be chasing", he said.

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