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By Andrew Ganz

Not content with being merely the largest luxury brand in the world, BMW says it wants to further increase its sales in the world's largest market: China.

The automaker says that the luxury sector in China will grow about 4.5 percent annually through 2022, significantly outpacing any other major market in the world.

“We have a clear target: We want to become the strongest premium brand in China,” BMW CFO Friedrich Eichiner told business analysts in Beijing today.

To do so, it says that it will begin tailoring more of its models for the Chinese market. Currently, BMW's only China-specific offering is a long-wheelbase version of its 5-Series midsize sedan, but other models are reportedly in the automaker's product pipeline.

BMW will be able to concentrate more on the Chinese market as it ramps up local assembly. It will begin building its 3-Series during the summer of 2012 and it will be capable of assembling 300,000 cars in China by 2013. The vast majority of new cars assembled in China will be for domestic consumption, not export.

Selling more cars isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds, even in a rapidly growing market like China. BMW says it will begin a new leasing business in China in 2012, marking the first time the German automaker has offered such a program in the market. BMW is already pursuing lucrative corporate contracts in China.



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