A record sale of more than 24,000 units has been recorded by the M division of BMW for the period between January and December 2008 with the M3 and its variants Cabrio and Sedan representing the largest percentage with 18,000 plus units.
Last year it was reported by BMW's performance arm that they had sold more vehicles in the first eight months (16,150 units) than the combined sales for the whole year of 2007 (16,128 units).
Even with the economic problems, the United States accounted for 10,633 units last year. Compared to the retiring model, the M3 is selling twice as much with the Coupe variant accounting for 10,571 units sold in 2008 while the Convertible, which was introduced only May, accounted for 4,169 units sold and the Sedan gets the remaining 3,253 M3s sold last year.
The M3 has been BMW's best seller for a long time with the E46 M3 driving the M Division to its best sales year with 26,776 units sold in 2002.
The M Sport line performance kits for non M BMW vehicles has also been one of the main sources of revenue for the M-division. The M Sport pack, which enhanced appearance and handling to the standard package, is available on the 1, 3, 5 and 6 series together with the X3 and X5 SUVs.
An estimated 100,000 1 and 3 series customers chose the add-on last year, with the 3 series accounting for 58,000 and 41,000 for the 1-series, both accounting for the major part of the total 156,139 M sports pack sold around the world in 2008.
Since its beginning in 1978 the M division has vended in excess of 300,000 vehicles globally and the future looks secure with new models and variants in the works even with the more stringent fuel economy and low emission standards being implemented in both North America and Europe.