Powering ahead: BMW dominates India's premium EV market with iX at helm

The iX alone surpasses the combined sales of all luxury BEV models from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo, BMW Group India president Vikram Pawah said.
The iX alone surpasses the combined sales of all luxury BEV models from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo, BMW Group India president Vikram Pawah said.


With improved chip supply, the German carmaker expects record sales of its 7 Series in FY24

In India’s nascent luxury electric car market, BMW has emerged as the dominant force, commanding a 50% market share with its i14 sedan, Mini Cooper SE hatch and the iX sport utility vehicle (SUV).

According to Vikram Pawah, president, BMW Group India, the iX alone surpasses the combined sales of all luxury battery electric vehicle (BEV) models from competitors Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo. In fact, luxury electric vehicles (EVs) now constitute nearly 10% of BMW’s total sales, exceeding the conversion rate of rival original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by more than double, Pawah said in an interview.

However, BMW’s collaboration with TVS Motor Co. in the Motorrad business, faces stiff competition from new entrants Harley-Davidson and Triumph, with the launch of locally assembled models in the 300cc-500cc segments, directly challenging BMW’s G 310 motorcycles. TVS is exclusively producing the motorcycles for BMW’s global markets. The G 310 witnessed a 48% increase in sales to 4,667 units in the first half of 2023, the company said.

“We have 50% market share in the premium segment of electric vehicles, so we are absolute leaders. We have sold 11 times in the first six months of this year from what we sold in the first half of last year. But because of limited availability of EVs in H12023, even in comparison to the full year 2022, we have sold 46% more in the first six months. We have delivered over 500 units of EVs this year in H1," Pawah said.

“We will lead the segment because we have four distinct products now including the i7 limousine. But the iX SUV has been an absolute success story. The iX alone outsells every premium segment electric car combined," he added.

The iX is perfectly suited for India as a “rough-and-tough" SUV, Pawah said, and isn’t a “compromised EV."

The Bavarian carmaker saw modest 5% growth in January-June over a year ago to 5,867 units.

Semiconductor shortages and logistics and shipping disruptions, as well as challenges in sourcing components due to geopolitical restrictions led to suboptimal supply to India in the initial months of this year, he added. “But supplies are now improving. In May-June, we had growth of 32% compared to the same period last year."

“There are three clear drivers of our growth: we have the widest portfolio of BEVs across premium and mass segment brands in India at present. In the luxury class (comprising the 7 Series, i7, XM and the X7), we saw 128% growth year-on-year, even though our deliveries started in April. This segment contributes 20% of our overall sells. The new 7 Series outsold in three months what we sold in entire 2022. Supplies are improving, so we are anticipating record sales of our 7 Series this year. The third driver has been new model launches. The X1 SUV now contributes 20% to sales and has a waiting period of four months," Pawah said, adding, “76% of our purchasers for the X1 are migrating from mass and premium and 56% are in the 35-45 years age group. This means it is expanding the market, which is the objective of the product."

“We have a well-distributed portfolio, where 50% of sales are from SUVs. We will focus on everything and all customers. We will not restrict supply of one vehicle or another. We will continue providing diesel, electric, petrol powertrains for our customers across products. We expect all segments— entry, core, luxury—to grow fast. On the demand side, we expect 15% EV penetration by the end of this year and it will grow year-on-year. We will be absolute leaders here. We promised we will have the biggest portfolio and we keep to that promise," Pawah added.

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