BMW is looking at reducing its U.S. sales for the first time in 16 years as the carmaker copes with a declining market and high fuel prices. One of its strategies is to take its focus away from the U.S. and instead attempt to boost sales in more profitable markets.

The plan comes from BMW's new U.S. chief Jim O'Donnell, who explains that the latest strategy is part of a bigger plan he has in store for North America. Pending approval from his German bosses, O'Donnell hopes to cut 90 jobs from BMW’s U.S. workforce and reduce sales volumes by 10% (about 44,000 vehicles).

Cutting down volume will allow BMW to avoid situations where it is forced to offer large incentives and sell cars with little or no profit margin, reports Automotive News. O'Donnell also revealed that the reintroduction of four-cylinder powertrains was an option for the U.S. as well.

Initiatives already started include cost cutting in BMW’s marketing department, reduced incentives on new models and cutbacks on dealer bonuses. Furthermore, BMW has already reduced volumes for slow sellers like the X3 SUV while at the same time increased prices on popular models like the X6 SUV.

The story doesn’t end the as O'Donnell has also hinted that four-cylinder powertrains could return to the U.S. The first models likely to be available with the compact engines include the 1-series range as well as a possible entry-level 3-series. This is an option Mercedes-Benz is also looking at with its own C-Class, which could receive a new turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine next year.