German luxury carmaker BMW on Thursday launched its premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) X3 capping the busiest August ever for the domestic car industry where over 10 cars were launched.
The X3, that comes on the back of BMW’s success with its cheaper cousin X1, is priced between Rs41.2 lakh and Rs47.9 lakh (ex showroom across India). The X1 has emerged as the company’s largest selling model, one that has given the Munich-based company a clear headstart over rivals Mercedes Benz and Audi.
Audi, two days ago, had launched a cheaper business edition of its X3 rivalling SUV Q5 slicing its price by Rs4.3 lakh to widen the gap with the X3 to over Rs6 lakh.
“I am not worried about what competitors do...all I know is that if a consumer in this segment likes a car, he is willing to pay a premium for it,” said Andreas Schaaf, president, BMW India. “I believe that will be the case with the X3 as well. I think we should be able to sell around 100 units a month with this car.”
The premium SUV segment has largely been dominated by Audi with its twin cars Q5 and Q7, but the launch of BMW’s X1 last December that remains the cheapest-luxury car in India, has tilted the scales in its favour. While Audi is planning to launch a similar priced smaller SUV Q3 next year to counter that, the price reduction is largely being seen as its attempt to retain its stronghold.
“As the Audi Q5 already has a broad fan base in India, this attractive price will now make this premium experience accessible to a wider customer base who aspire to own a luxury SUV,” said Michael Perschke, head, Audi India.
“It is perfectly equipped to further strengthen our leadership position in the luxury SUV segment,” he added.
The two companies are directly pitted against each other in the battle for the pole position in luxury cars not only in India but globally as well. While Audi is aiming to achieve that target by 2015, BMW has said it is in no mood to relinquish its leadership position.
“2016, will be the 100th year for BMW globally and we intend to stay the number one luxury car company in the world and in India,” Schaaf said.