BMW’s global four-cylinder engine plant at Hams Hall in the West Midlands is set for another boost, the German carmaker has confirmed.

A new generation of hi-tech engines made at the factory in Coleshill, near Birmingham, will go into an updated version of the entry-level BMW 1 Series cars.

Norbert Reithofer, chief executive of the Munich-based group, which makes Minis and Rolls-Royces in the UK, announced the development in Germany.

Originally the engines, which BMW developed jointly with French automotive group PSA Peugeot Citroen and which replace an earlier version built in Brazil, were intended only for the new generation Mini which went into production at Oxford in 2006.

But the decision to extend their use to the Series 1 will mean more work for Hams Hall, which ramped up production by 70 per cent to 172,000 units last year and which employs about 1,000 people.

"This will obviously have a positive impact on our business and our production levels," a spokesman for Hams Hall said yesterday.

"But it is too early to say what the numbers will be."

Dr Reithofter broke the news as Hams Hall was celebrating winning a prestigious industry award for the second year running.

Its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, which goes into the Oxford-built Mini Cooper S and Cooper S Clubman, was named International Engine of the Year in the 1.4 -1.8-litre class.

Also yesterday, BMW announced that group sales globally rose by 12.5 per cent to 133,205 units in April despite faltering economic conditions in some of its key markets.

Deliveries of BMW-branded vehicles rose by 11.6 per cent to 111,654, with sales of the 1 Series nearly doubled.

Mini was 17.5 per cent ahead at 21,463 cars and Rolls-Royce sales rose by 69 per cent to 88 cars.

Munich-based group sales and marketing director Ian Robertson, who until recently was chairman and chief executive of Rolls-Royce, said: "Despite the economic conditions in some markets, we will continue to aim for new record sales levels for all three brands for the current business year."

Mercedes-Benz, BMW’s closest competitor in the premium car segment, said its sales rose by 21.7 per cent to 119,000 in April.