BMW’s global sales fell 7,5 per cent in January, but the German manufacturer said it expected a good year with new models due in 2003.

BMW’s global sales for January fell 7,5 per cent in January, but the German manufacturer said it expected a good year with new models due in 2003.

reported that BMW sales fell to 64 800 cars in January, but Mini sales increased to 15 100 units, which helped lift the group’s sales by 2,7 per cent.

BMW said the drop was due to the ageing of current models. "The BMW brand recorded a decline in sales largely due to the effect of model cycles," the company said in a statement. BMW said it expected a turning point around the middle of the year when the new-product drive comes on song.

BMW said because of the new models, sales of its outgoing 5-Series fell by 23 per cent in January to 10 870, while 3-Series sales dropped by about six per cent to 40 970.

BMW is launching its new 5-Series saloon this year, a diesel version of the Mini and an updated 3-Series. It will also introduce the new small X-3 sport-utility vehicle and a 6-Series coupé.

"After the market launch of new models and model updates, the company is assuming that sales will rise in 2003, with increasing energy in the second half, for all of the group's brands compared with the last year," BMW said.