A strong performance from the Mini has helped BMW breach sales of half a million cars for the first five months of the year.
The company, which employs 4,000 people at its Hams Hall engine plant in Warwickshire, saw sales rise by 7.5 per cent to 113,626 in May.
Sales of its core BMW brand jumped 6.4 per cent to 96,061 units last month, while Mini sales increased 14.2 per cent to 17,511 cars.
BMW also delivered 54 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, down 15.6 per cent compared with May 2004.
For the first five months, group car sales surged 8.4 per cent to 517,184 units, led by solid demand for new BMW models such as the X3 mid-size offroader and the 1-Series hatchback.
A spokeswoman for BMW said the massive increase in Mini sales had been driven by the full roll out of convertible models.
She said: "We have seen a rise across most of the Mini models, but the Mini convertible has proved very successful.
"We see this year more models available than last, with the convertible Mini One, Cooper and Cooper S models now available.
"Every Mini we make at Oxford now has a customer's name on it."
Powered by its biggest-ever model offensive, BMW's sales have overtaken those of archrival Mercedes Car Group.
The recent launch of its revamped 3-Series saloon means the BMW brand may finally overtake Mercedes-Benz as the world's best-selling luxury marque this year.
Since its launch at the beginning of March, BMW has sold 40,834 of the key midsized saloon.
Sales at DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Car Group fell 5.8 per cent in May to 96,400 vehicles, hurt by a weak showing in Germany and model changeovers at its Mercedes-Benz brand.
Earlier this week German-American carmaker said sales of Mercedes-Benz cars had fallen 6.6 per cent to 83,600 vehicles, while deliveries of Smart minicars dipped 0.4 per cent to 12,800.
The division's sales fell a cumulative 3.4 per cent in the first five months to 462,900 vehicles.
Rival Audi, the premium brand owned by Volkswagen, is enjoying far more success than the venerable Mercedes-Brand marque and is increasingly posing a bigger threat to BMW.
Audi increased global car sales in May by some 14 per cent to over 72,000 units thanks in particular to strong demand for its revamped A6 Avant estate and booming sales in its core German market.
Deliveries through May gained six per cent to a record 342,000 cars and it stuck to its goal of reaching an all-time high in unit sales despite a lack of new models, BMW's Ingolstadt-based competitor said earlier this month.
* General Motors expects to close more assembly and component plants over the next few years, slashing about 25,000 manufacturing jobs, as it battles high costs and shrinking market share, the company's chief executive said.
Chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner also told the annual meeting that GM, which lost £600 million in the first quarter, expects to save £1.36 billion a year from the cost-cutting measures.