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BMW boss predicts record year

Helmut Panke, chairman of the BMW board of management, says the carmaker will achieve record sales and earnings this year.

Speaking at the company's annual meeting he said: "The BMW Group has grown into a new dimension. We are stronger than ever before in every respect. We stand on a healthy foundation and will be one of the most profitable automobile manufacturers in the world."

It made a good start to the 2004 business year, with customer deliveries, revenues and earnings in the first quarter all exceeding the corresponding figures of the previous year.

This upward trend in the first three months continued in April, with deliveries of 101,380 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce cars outperforming the previous year's figure by 10.4% (previous year: 91.843). This represents an increase in deliveries as of April by 5.1% to 371,376 units (previous year: 353,431).

Panke set forth clear objectives for the year as a whole in his statement to shareholders: "We will achieve new records in 2004 in both sales volume and earnings. The BMW Group is therefore entering a period of growing returns generated by our ongoing product and market initiative."

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