BMW to drive new 5 Series in India soon

BMW to drive new 5 Series in India soon

Munich: German luxury carmaker BMW on Wednesday said it will bring the latest version of its sedan 5 Series to India this year in order to drive volumes and ward off increasing competition from compatriots -- Mercedes and Audi.

“The refreshed 5 Series will be launched globally later this month and we intend to launch it in India within 2010. The price is yet to be decided for the India market," said BMW global director (marketing and planning) Markus Schram.

He said while the 5 Series will mainly compete with Mercedes’ E Class, BMW “wants to set a new trend in the luxury car segment with this series in India".

“The new car will be aimed at driving volumes in the Indian market," Schram said. “The main intention is to maintain momentum in the Indian market against our rival from Stuttgart (Mercedes) and Ingolstadt (Audi)."

Schram, however, declined to comment on variants of the new refreshed series, but said “our portfolio will be strong".

In 2009, BMW overtook Mercedes as the numero uno luxury carmaker in the Indian market with sales of 3,619 units against 3,247 units of the rival.

Announcing the company’s annual results, BMW AG chairman Norbert Reithofer said, “We plan to grow our sales again in China, Brazil and India in the current year."

The company on Wednesday reported net profit of €210 million (about Rs1,315 crore) in 2009 against €330 million (about Rs2,067 crore) last year, down 36.4% on account of higher effective tax rate.

BMW’s total revenue was down 4.7% to €50,681 million in 2009, from €53,197 million in 2008.

Its total global sales in 2009 stood at 1,286,310 units (BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce) against 1,435,876 units in 2008, down 10.4%.

Commenting on the outlook for this year, Reithofer said, “We are heading into the new business year with cautious optimism and are targeting group earnings well above the level reported for the past year. We want to see visible progress in 2010 in the direction of our profitability targets for 2012."

He said the company intended to remain the world’s leading provider of premium cars in 2010 and plans to increase sales within a solid single-digit percentage range to 1.3 million vehicles.