German luxury carmaker and reigning market leader BMW said on Wednesday that a flurry of launches in the second half of this year would see its sales cross 10,000 units for the year and consolidate its position at the top.
In the recent few months, Volkswagen group firm Audi has nudged close to the Munich based firm and the difference between the two firms is less than 500 units so far this year.
"BMW will be the volume leader in the luxury car business worldwide, this year, next year and in the years to come," said Hendrik Von Kuenheim, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and South Africa, BMW. "Make no mistake about it, it would be the same in India too. The second half of the year belongs to us."
Since its entry in 2007, this is the first time BMW’s sales have actually declined over a six month period. It has sold 4,457 units in 2012 so far, 1.5% less than last year. Audi on the other hand grew by a robust 42.8% at 4,000 units and has already overtaken Mercedes to become the main competitor to BMW for the number 1 spot.
"Being number 1 does not affect the consumer that much," Kuenheim added. "It affects the investors and shareholders and maybe the employees. Pure volume is nothing but still its good to be the marketleader."
BMW is being pushed by Audi worldwide as well. Globally, BMW sold 747,064 units in the first half of 2012 while Audi managed 733,000 units.
But, as in India, Audi is growing faster across the world.
"There are many products that are going to be launched in the next few months starting with the new 3 series," said Dr Andreas Schaaf, president, BMW India. "The new X1 will also be launched at the end of the year as also the new 7 series. There is enough fuel in the tank for the rest of the year."
Audi is targeting sales of 8,000 units in 2012 and the proximity to BMW notwithstanding, it has said number 1 is not a priority for this year.
"We do not foresee ourselves as the market leader in 2012," said Michael Perschke, head, Audi India.
"Our intention is to grow on a healthy basis without chasing numbers and end 2012 at a very healthy number 2. Number 1 is not our target this year," he added.