BMW to add 10 more sales centres,launch 4 all-new models in'15

BMW to add 10 more sales centres,launch 4 all-new models in'15

German luxury carmaker BMW, which has been pushed to a distant No 3 in market share, will open 10 more outlets this year whereas it also plans to roll out 15 models, including four all-new models.

"We'll take our brand foot prints to 50 this year from the present 40. Most of the new sales centres will come up in tier 2 cities like Vijayawada, etc," BMW Group India president Philipp von Sahr told PTI here.

The company, which used to be the market leader in the luxe car space for many years in the country before its compatriot Audi stormed the market in 2008 and unseated it to a No 3, has matched its rival Mercedes' numbers of 15 new launches this year. Mercedes has toppled Audi in the first quarter of 2015 to be the No 1 with a massive 40 per cent rise in sales. While Mercedes-Benz sold 3,566 units during January-March, Audi sold 3,139 units during the period at a growth of 15 per cent.

"In 2015 we will expand our product range and cover all the opportunity available in the luxury car segment. We'll be launching 15 models this year. Out of the 15 models, four will be brand new models, which will be imported from our global centres and the rest will be re-launches.

"We've already launched the concept car BMW i8, and the other brand new models are the X5M, the X6, and the X6M. There will also be re-launches of the 1 Series and the 3 Series," Sahr said.

The company kicked off its launches with the rollout of the over Rs 2 crore i8 in February and Sahr said the sports car which sports dual engines-a regenerative electric engine and a petrol one--is "sold out for the year". Currently BMW sells more than a dozen models here out of which eight are manufactured locally at its Chennai plant, which has an installed capacity of 14,000 units per year at a three-shift schedule.

BMW India began operations in March 2007 and has since then invested Rs 490 crore.
It assembles 8 models locally at it two assembly lines here, which are the 1 Series, 3 Series, 3 Series Gran Turismo, 5 Series, 7 Series, X1, X3, and the X5.

When asked whether the company will be lowering the prices following a 75 percentage point increase in its local content sourcing, he answered in the negative, saying the objective of higher location is not price reduction but about participating in the 'Make in India' campaign. Also, more than local sourcing what can help cut prices is the duty reductions on a major dip in either in the euro or in the rupee, he added.

Late last week BMW said as part of its increased local sourcing, the company has started sourcing 2L and 3 L diesel engines and transmission systems from Force Motors, apart from axles from ZF Hero Chassis; door panels and wiring harness from Draexlmaier India; exhaust systems from Tenneco Automotive India, heating and ventilating, air-conditioning and cooling modules from Valeo India among others.

BMW did not reveal its first quarter numbers and Sahr said going forward it will only release annual sales figures. He also refused to share any sales target for the year, saying "we are not bothered about sales, but to run a profitable business and we've been profitable for many years now."

However, market sources peg the BMW sales in the first quarter of 2015 at around 1,500 units. BMW lost its No 1 position to Audi in 2012 and according to market sources it sold around 7,000 units in the past fiscal.

For the financial year 2014-15, Audi remained the top luxe brand though its lead over No 2 Mercedes narrowed to a slender 79 units. In 2014-15, Audi sold 11,292 units, up 11.51 per cent over the year-ago period, while Mercedes sold 11,213 units, up 17.5 per cent from 2013-14.

The three German brands have traditionally commanded nearly 90 per cent of domestic luxury car market of under 30,000 units.

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