Detroit, MI – BMW AG Chairman Helmut Panke says BMW sold 473,000 vehicles in 2003’s second half, to produce the most successful second half in the company’s history, topping 2002 sales by 15,000 units, or 1.6 %.

BMW’s Mini brand sold 175,000 units, 31,000 more than in 2002. In addition, Panke reveals that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sold about 300 units – half in the U.S. (See related story: BMW Sets Aggressive Growth Targets)

Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO of BMW North America, LLC, says sales here increased by 7.5% to 276,000 units. That’s another all-time record for BMW in the U.S. Sales of the Z4 roadster soared more than 100% over 2002, and Purves says it is the best-selling roadster in the premium market.

Canadian sales climbed to 18,000 units last year, and BMW and Mini sales in Mexico exceeded 6,200 units. U.S. Mini sales totaled 35,500 units, with 85% pre-ordered to specification.

BMW Z4 roadster sales soared more than 100% over 2002.

Even BMW motorcycles set a new sales record with 15,000 units in 2003. The U.S. is the top export market for BMW motorcycles.

Panke forecasts BMW will match last year’s profit figures in 2004. “Our strategy is to get 2% of the U.S. market,” Panke says. BMW now has 1.6% of the U.S. market. He says that the launch of the new 6-Series in March and a new Mini in summer should help BMW toward this goal.

BMW sales in Asia, meanwhile, will grow dramatically this year, Panke forecasts. In 2003, BMW delivered twice as many units to the Chinese mainland market than in 2002. China is the third-biggest market worldwide for the 7-Series and the 7-Series with a 12-cyl. engine.

Panke says BMWs JV with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. has become increasingly important. Production of the 3-Series and 5-Series started last September and October, respectively, at the Shenyang plant. He is targeting production of 30,000 units all for the Chinese market from that plant.