Munich — BMW is targeting another ambitious hike in plug-in hybrid and battery car sales in 2018 to defend its position in the electric car shift as competitors such as Volkswagen prepare their own battery line-ups. The planned increase to about 150,000 cars sold would represent a 50% rise from 2017, and a jump of about two-thirds from 2016’s deliveries of green cars. BMW, an early mover in the electric car shift with 2013’s i3, is facing increasing competition from rivals such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. "We’ll definitely boost sales by a mid-double digit amount," said Klaus Froehlich, who heads development for BMW. "This is to stay ahead of the competition that’s starting to do its own rollout," he said. Faced with tightening emissions regulation, BMW and other car makers are spending record amounts developing a more attractive suite of electric cars to kick-start sluggish consumer sales. The payoff remains uncertain, as high battery prices will squeeze returns compared to eq...

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