The Chinese car market is a burgeoning one, characterised by rapidly rising sales of luxury motors.

But it's not all Bentleys and long-wheelbase BMW 5 Series in China, as MINI is reporting huge sales increases for the start of this year.

Having sold just 403 cars during its first year in China, in 2005, it shifted 15,500 in 2011 - and now it's reporting a 33% sales increase for the first quarter of 2012.

MINI sold 50,000 cars in the UK in 2011; it'll be no surprise if Chinese MINI sales overtake the UK's well within the next decade.

"We originally launched MINI with a high price point as part of a niche premium strategy so sales were slow to begin with. We adjusted this strategy last year and sales have really taken off. We still market the cars as premium models and they are seen in China as chic and fashionable," said Friedrich Eichiner.

BMW has just opened a second Chinese factory, due to build the X1 and China-only 3 Series LWB.
Meanwhile, in the UK, MINI has just launched the latest generation JCW GP car. Read all about that here.