DETROIT – BMW AG is part of a very exclusive club in the auto industry these days: It saw record sales in 2006 and is aiming for another record in 2007.

BMW Group sales, which include BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, rose 3.5% worldwide, hitting 1,373,926 vehicle sales in 2006,

Michael Ganal, member of the BMW Board of Management, says at the North American International Auto Show here.

The BMW brand, alone, grew 5.2% to more than 1.18 million vehicles last year. Rolls-Royce delivered 805 of its pricey Phantoms worldwide, its fourth consecutive increase since the model was launched in 2003.

Only the Mini brand saw a sales decrease – down 6.2% to 188,072 units, and that was because a plant expansion and model changeover crimped production. BMW officials are expecting a new sales record for the Mini brand as early as this year.

Even BMW motorcycle sales were up, soaring past 100,000 units for the first time ever.

“We want to continue the BMW Group’s success story in 2007. That is to say, we intend to achieve new sales records for every brand,” Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management, says in a statement.

Ganal says the German auto maker originally had set a retail sales goal of 1.4 million units for 2008.

“Now we are going to go one step further,” he says. “We plan to deliver more than 1.4 million vehicles to customers worldwide in 2007.”

Revenue and earnings will be announced in March, but a pre-tax profit of about €4 billion ($5.2 billion) is expected, Ganal says.

Despite the cheery news, BMW’s only major world premier at this year’s Detroit show is the new 3-Series convertible.

It is the first 3-Series convertible to feature a retractable hardtop, Ganal says. Made from lightweight steel, it takes about 20 seconds for the roof to open or close, making it the fastest in its class.

The new model will be launched March 24 in Europe and will be available in the U.S. at the end of March.

dwinter@wardsauto.com