Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Sunday, 7 December 2008

BMW sales dip more than a quarter

Engine of a BMW 750Li
Last month BMW reported a sharp fall in profits

German carmaker BMW has seen its global monthly sales fall by more than a quarter, as consumers tighten their belts amid the economic slowdown.

BMW brand sales fell 26.2% in November from the same month a year ago, said the firm, while sales of its UK-based Mini subsidiary declined 20.8%.

The firm has already said its Mini plant in Oxford will close on Friday for an extended Christmas shutdown.

It is closing the factory for four weeks instead of the usual two.

November sales at BMW's luxury Rolls-Royce arm were down 18.5%.

For the whole BMW group, sales fell 25.4% to 96,570 in November, compared with a much slower decrease of 8.3% to 113,005 in October.

Profit fall

"During the period to the end of November the BMW group performed better than the overall premium segment, and has increased its market share in the segment," said BMW board member Ian Robertson.

I don't want to tell my children that I've just lost my job
Worker at the Mini factory

Last month BMW reported a sharp fall in its profits and said it could not provide a forecast for 2008 and beyond because of the uncertain economic climate.

The German firm said net profit fell 63% for the three months to September to 298m euros ($375.5m; 236.5m).

During the quarter, sales dropped 9% to 12.6bn euros, from 14bn euros in the same three month period a year earlier.

Almost all of the world's carmakers have seen sales fall sharply since the summer, and Detroit's "Big Three" firms - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - have asked the US government for $34bn (23bn; 26.6bn euros) in emergency loans.

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