Demand drives best-ever BMW sales in Britain

BMW toasted surging demand for the new Mini Coupé and BMW 3 Series yesterday, as the German-owned car giant enjoyed its best-ever year in the UK.

The company sold 178,854 new BMW and Minis during 2012 – a 7.2 per cent jump on the previous year, which pushed its share of the overall car market to a record 8.8 per cent. This means that one in 11 of all new cars sold in the UK last year was made by BMW.

The eye-catching performance – attributed to the introduction of the BMW 3 Series Saloon and Touring and the newly launched Mini Coupé and Roadster models –came against the backdrop of the fastest growth for the UK car industry in more than a decade.

New car sales rose 5.3 per cent to 2.04 million last year, the strongest rise since 2001 and the best in terms of new sales since 2008.

The soaring price of petrol pushed up the demand for more fuel-efficient "mini" cars, with an engine capacity of less than one litre, which saw models like the Toyota IQ and Vauxhall Agila snapped up.

The best-selling car in Britain last year was again the Ford Fiesta, with nearly 110,000 purchased. It has held this position since its launch in 2008.

Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: "As we look to the year ahead the real question is whether this demand will hold. Consumer pockets will continue to be squeezed."