Kolkata: The world’s largest premium car maker, BMW AG of Germany, is reconsidering a plan to launch its Mini hatchback in India by the end of this year, having already delayed it from 2007, a senior official said on Thursday.
The Mini would be imported and would carry a price tag of around Rs20 lakh ($41,000), Peter Kronschnabl, president of BMW’s India unit, told reporters at the local launch of the BMW X6.
“Last year we decided to postpone the launch of Mini in India by a year, as we had doubts regarding the viability of the project. We would again take a look at it by the end of the third quarter of the calendar year,” he said.
The luxury hatchback market was not developed in India, and the investment to launch a new brand would be substantial, Kronschnabl said.
“So we have to relook at the potential business opportunity before launching it,” he said.
BMW sold 1,747 BMWs in the first half of 2009, about a quarter of total Indian luxury car sales of 7,400, and its sales growth of 12% was better than the sector’s 1.5%, Kronschnabl said.
“We are confident of delivering 3,000 cars to our customers in India in the year 2009,” he added.
The company recently raised the annual capacity at its Indian plant to 3,000 units from 1,700 on a single-shift basis at a cost of $750,000, he said.
BMW, which competes with European rivals DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen in the premium car market in India, makes the 3 and 5 series in India and also sells its 7 series from imported kits. It was close to signing an agreement with global manufacturers for sourcing components from India, he said.