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German luxury car makers report strong February sales

FRANKFURT, Mar 9 – German luxury car maker BMW said Wednesday that strong demand in all major regions pushed February group sales up by 21.7 percent to 111,720 vehicles, a trend reported by major German rivals as well.

BMW "is currently doing exceptionally well from the recovery of the car markets in many regions of the world," sales director Ian Robertson said in a statement.

Sales of BMW brand cars rose 21.9 percent to 95,423 and the group\’s Mini and Rolls-Royce marques posted strong gains as well.

By region, the biggest jump was in Asia with a gain of 49.3 percent to 25,722 vehicles, while Europe remained the largest market overall with 57,381 cars sold, up 16.8 percent.

The Americas rose 14.7 percent and deliveries in emerging economies such as South Korea, India and Brazil were much stronger too.

Meanwhile, sales by Audi, a division of Volkswagen, jumped 20.6 percent in February to 91,450 and showed a gain of 21.6 percent for the first two months of the year, the manufacturer said Monday.

"Audi is on its way to achieving the most successful first quarter in its history in terms of sales," marketing director Peter Schwarzenbauer said in a statement.

China is Audi\’s biggest market, followed closely by Germany and the United States, with all three reporting gains of more than 20 percent in February.

Daimler said it sold 10 percent more vehicles last month at 86,500, of which 79,500 were Mercedes-Benz models, a gain of 10.3 percent, and 7,000 Smart city cars, up 6.6 percent.

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It was the 16th month running of double-digit gains, the group said.

Its Chinese sales soared 66.2 percent to 12,200 and gained four percent in the United States to 15,500 but they declined by 1.2 percent in Germany to 14,800.

"We expect sales to grow significantly in the first quarter, putting us on track to achieve a new sales record in 2011," sales director Joachim Schmidt said.

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