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BMW CEO signals BMW brand may lose volume sales crown

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BMW may surrender its position of being the best selling premium passenger car brand to rival Audi, although the Munich-based company will retain the title if you include sales of Mini, Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said on Wednesday.

[MUNICH] BMW may surrender its position of being the best selling premium passenger car brand to rival Audi, although the Munich-based company will retain the title if you include sales of Mini, Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said on Wednesday.

"We would like to remain leading premium auto maker, also in terms of volume," Mr Reithofer old journalists gathered at the company's annual results conference in Munich.

However a push by competitors like Volkswagen's premium brand Audi into areas of subcompact cars with its A1 model, a segment where BMW does not offer an equivalent vehicle, is making it harder to retain the title, Mr Reithofer explained.

If you use BMW Group as a benchmark, and include sales of Mini-branded cars, then the title of being the biggest selling premium auto maker will be retained, Mr Reithofer said.

"There are always internal discussions about volume, these tend to end with the conclusion that we cannot surrender market share, but only if you have a good margin contribution. Volume is not everything and maintaining the same level of growth is not everything," Mr Reithofer said.

REUTERS