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BMW eyes record China sales, to recall cars

A worker mounts the logo on a rim at the serial production BMW i3 electric car in the BMW factory in Leipzig September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Fab
A worker mounts the logo on a rim at the serial production BMW i3 electric car in the BMW factory in Leipzig September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Fab

BEIJING (Reuters) - German luxury car maker BMW said it is set to sell another record number of cars in China this year, an upbeat outlook accompanied by a separate announcement that it would recall over 25,000 defective cars in the nation in 2014.

China's consumer quality watchdog said in a statement BMW would recall 25,254 cars in China, the world's biggest automobile market, from Feb 17 next year due to a faulty power brake system that compromises safety.

BMW has already recalled nearly 220,000 cars this year over two occasions to fix their electric power steering system and socket adapters for tail lights.

The cars to be recalled next year include 4,083 vehicles produced by BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd, a joint venture between BMW and Brilliance China Automotive, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.

Other cars to be recalled are the 125i, 320i, 328i, 520i, 528i, X1, X3 and Z4 models.

The plan to recall the cars came after BMW said earlier on Saturday its China sales rose more than 20 percent in the first nine months of this year, paving the way for another year of record Chinese sales.

The company sold 284,964 BMW and MINI vehicles in China in the January to September period, up 20.2 percent from a year earlier.

That compares with a 12.7 percent growth in China's vehicle market and a nine percent growth in BMW's global deliveries during the same period.

"The stable growth ... laid a solid foundation for achieving another sales record for the year of 2013," Karsten Engel, chief executive of BMW Group China said in a statement.

China, which is expected to surpass the United States as the biggest premium car market by the end of the decade, is key to other luxury marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley.

This year, Daimler unveiled plans to open a museum in Beijing showcasing its Mercedes-Benz brand, and British supercar maker McLaren opened its first showroom in China.

As part of BMW's global push to win market share, it has stepped up investment in brand stores and dealershops in China, and introduced Apple-style customer services.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Koh Gui Qing; editing by Ron Askew)

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