With the leadership position in its bag in India, much ahead than what it had projected internally, BMW India looks set to withstand rivalry from its two other German counterparts — Mercedes Benz and Audi, with a number of launches and other initiatives including the start of a used car business this year.
With a little over 3,500 units as sales, India is a small market for the German carmaker in its global operations, but even then India finds a separate mention in its annual report by way of a thirteen page supplement on India. The company has now set a target of over 4,000 units sales for 2010 that will mean another year of double digit year growth. During the year, BMW will launch the new 5 series in July and the premium small SUV X1 in December.
“In 2010, we aim to achieve double digit growth. In absolute numbers we want to achieve sales of over 4,000 units,” said Peter Kronschnabl, president, BMW India. “The Chennai plant has a capacity of 3,000 units per annum. We will also invest more on our plant.”
With the expansions in the pipeline, the company is also looking to increase the head count in its plant by a third. Currently, around 200 people work in its factory.
Further, the company is starting up its pre-owned car business (BMW Premium Selection) in India, which it hopes will account for as much as a third of its sales once the outlets have a national presence.
“The pre-owned car segment has a big potential in India, because till date there is not much of an organised format here,” Krosnschnabl said. “Globally, we sell as many used cars as new cars, but since India is a new market for us, we hope to sell at least as many as 30 per cent of our new car sales here. That will, however, happen only when we are present in all major cities in the country with our pre-owned car outlets.”
The company is starting an outlet in Chennai and later another one in Gurgaon.
BMW is also investing $50 million (Rs 225 crore) in an independent finance arm that will offer retail finance for customers, commercial finance for dealers and also insurance in collaboration with Bajaj Allianz.