The Toyota Motor Corporation recorded an eight per cent growth in sales for the year ending in March and the BMW Group said it sold 10,3 per cent more units in April than the previous month.

The Toyota Motor Corporation recorded an eight per cent growth in sales for the year ending in March and the BMW Group said it sold 10,3 per cent more units in April than the previous month.


The Japanese multinational is set to report a 46 per cent jump in group net profit to 1,1 trillion yen (R70,8 billion) for the year just ended, helped by strong sales in the US and European markets, said.


The Camry was popular on the US market and increased sales by nine per cent to a record 1,92 million units. Sales in Europe topped 800 000 units, helped by the introduction of models such as the Avensis saloon and in Japan, Toyota sold 1,73 million vehicles – an increase of one per cent on the previous year.


BMW AG said its group unit sales climbed to 101 380 units in April, thanks to continued growth in Asian markets. Five per cent more BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce cars were sold in 2004 to the end of April than in the same period last year and is forecasting unit sales growth for all three of its brands in 2004.


"In Germany, a noticeable revival in incoming orders from both private and business customers indicates that sales are also set to develop positively in the next few months," the company said in a statement.


BMW reported a strong rise in sales to China, where its new plant in Shenyang will be officially opened on May 20, with deliveries growing to 8 577 from 6 065. Overall sales to Asia rose 17,3 per cent to 29 777 cars, but grew only 4,2 per cent in Western Europe and 1,8 per cent in North America.


BMW brand sales accounted for 85 220 units worldwide, a rise of 9,9 per cent over April 2003, bringing the total for the first four months of the year to 307,308 units, a 4,8 per cent increase from 2003.


Mini deliveries rose 12,3 per cent in April to 16 093 units, taking cumulative growth for the year to 6,2 per cent. The BMW group also sold 67 Rolls-Royces last month, bringing the total so far this year to 206, said.


Meanwhile, Kia Motors reported an 18 per cent rise in quarterly net profit by virtue of strong sales of its compact models in Europe. Kia had suffered a protracted slump in sales on its domestic market, but encountered solid foreign demand in Europe and elsewhere.


Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, posted a net profit of R1 billion for the first quarter ended March 31. Kia's earnings outpaced Hyundai Motor – the South Korean giant reported an 11 per cent rise in quarterly profit but heavy discounts to sell an ageing US model line-up diminished operating profits.

Original article from Car