German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) said its sales fell 9.7 percent in August from the year-earlier period, to 91,790 units, and said it was cautiously optimistic about returning to growth soon.

We are heading in the right direction -- since April we have continually regained ground month-on-month, the company's head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, said in a statement on Tuesday.

I am cautiously optimistic that we will be back on our growth path in the months ahead and will remain the leading international supplier of premium automobiles this year, even though we will not sell as many cars in total in 2009 as in 2008.

In the January-August period, group sales fell 17.7 percent to 817,183 units, BMW said. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan)