BMW eyes the top spot

BMW eyes the top spot

New Delhi: A slowing economy, negative sentiment and tougher financing environment, yet German automobile company BMW is bullish about the luxury car market in India. And with new launches, expansion of dealership networks and penetration in tier-2 cities like Ludhiana and Coimbatore, it hopes to edge out Mercedes to claim the number one spot by the end of the year. But the journey will not be easy as the company says the first half of 2009 will be challenging and it’ll smoothen out only in the second half.

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BMW India President Peter Kronschnabl says, “I think when we saw a growth from 2007 to 2008 about 4,300 to 7,500 in luxury segment; I don’t believe the trend will continue in 2009. I personally believe there will be a slight growth in this year."

BMW Monday unveiled its new version of the 7-series. Priced at about 93 lakh, the company says the car has a fuel efficiency of 8.8 kmpl which is 10 percent more than its predecessor. The company will be monitoring the January to March sales before fixing targets for the coming fiscal. In 2008, the company sold a total of 2,908 units, which more than double its sales in 2007. In the April-December 2008 period, it sold 2,046 units, coming close to 2,395 units sold by Mercedes Benz.

BMW may very soon be seen outsourcing auto components from India. Last year, it set up its global purchasing office in India to evaluate the potential of global purchasing from India or procuring its worldwide ancillaries requirement. “…a couple of optimistic negotiations which are on going at this point of time. Too early to unveil, but it is quite good," says Peter Kronschnabl.

BMW will be launching the S6 next month followed by the 3 series. But it has no plans to bring its premium hatch back 1-Series to India just yet as it feels it won’t be accepted in the Indian market.