BMW is enjoying the success of their Mini brand in the UAE with sales increasing 86 per cent between January and October this year compared to the same period last year.
"The perception of Mini as a car for individuals is very popular in the UAE, particularly in Dubai. There's a strong customer base here for the younger ones. They're cosmopolitan people and it's something that really combines them from the different places they come from all over the world," Joeg Breuer, managing director of BMW Group Middle East, told Gulf News.
"Our new Mini showroom which opened in April in Media City has also contributed to our increase in sales," he added.
According to Breuer, Dubai is the biggest market for the Mini in the Middle East and North Africa.
This boost in sales follows significant investment by BMW's partners in the region including AGMC in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Motors in Abu Dhabi.
"Around $100 million (Dh367 million) was invested in facilities, people and equipment. We're also expanding our presence in the other emirates.
"Facilities are currently being constructed in Fujairah and Al Ain and the second biggest showroom in the world is being completed in Abu Dhabi," Breuer said.
BMW has invested a lot in promoting the Mini brand, including the recent Mini Drive Out Loud Festival which attracted 1,500 participants, and the Mini stunt in the aquarium in Dubai Mall.
"The brand is all about this lifestyle. This is what the car projects," Breuer said.
BMW Group has the biggest premium market share in the Middle East with the UAE as its biggest market, accounting for 50 per cent of Middle East sales.
Their top of the range models, the 7 Series, 5 Series, X6 and X5, are the biggest selling models and account for 75 per cent of sales.
"Coming from the crisis in 2008 I believe that we have nearly overcome it. This year was characterized by some volatility coming from Europe and the US, but judging from our sales we have the feeling that consumer confidence is still very high and people are optimistic," Breuer said.
Pre-owned car sales
Sales for BMW Group's pre-owned vehicles are also doing well.
"With the introduction of the BMW premium selection, which is a guarantee offered on pre-owned cars, the confidence in buying a pre-owned vehicle has been converted over the year.
"We're seeing strong double digit growth there of almost 40 per cent," Breuer said.
Outside the UAE, BMW is also seeing strong growth in Iraq.