BMW plans more compact cars for India
In an attempt to maintain its numerouno position the Indian premium and luxury car space, BMW India is planning to launch a slew of compact cars including the next generation X1 and a premium compact hatchback '1 series' over the next 12 to 18 months to take on its German rivals - Audi and Mercedes Benz.
The launch of 1 Series will extend the number of small compact cars in the Indian market priced between Rs 18 to 25 lakh, over the next one year. The BMW launches will coincide with the launch of 'A class' from Mercedes Benz and A3 from Audi.
Flagging off this product onslaught, BMW on Thursday launched the all-new 6 Series Gran Coupe, the first four door coupe to be launched in India, and priced at Rs 86.4 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi).
BMW India said, the strategy to introduce new vehicles and more assembled products was to bring in higher volumes. Over the next one year, the new X1 is slated to hit the market in January of 2013, and will be followed by the next generation 7 series In March, next year, which will be assembled at its plant in Chennai and will soon be followed by a compact premium hatchback '1 series' by the end of 2013, which too will be assembled. With this, the company will have 6 products (1 series, 3 series, 5 series, 7 series, X1 and X3) assembled in India, thus negating the steep import duty on cars.
Phillip von Sahr, president, BMW Group India told ET, "We will look for growth and that will be through new models, we will be adding more products which will be assembled. We want to be number one and continue to be number one with sustainable growth and not through discounting."
Having been appointed in October, Sahr says, 2012 has been a difficult year, "There is growth, but it is not double digit growth like we had in the past few years. Therefore we have to be prepared now with new dealers and models to drive growth. The outlook for the next year is slightly better than current year. Only post 2014, we expect momentum to pick up in India," added the new President of BMW India.