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BMW's Mini to hit Indian roads soon?

autos Updated: Aug 25, 2011 21:09 IST
Manu P. Toms
Manu P. Toms
Hindustan Times
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BMW’s small car Mini, whose much anticipated Indian entry was put on the back burner, now seems closer.

“We will decide on the launch of Mini in India in a year’s time. If it is a positive decision, the brand will be in India in 2-3 years,” said Andreas Schaaf, president, BMW India.

BMW had hinted about the launch of Mini in India twice before but put it on hold as it was wary of acceptance of high end small cars in India. “It’s a premium small car with high price positioning. We have to see if it is big enough to deliver sustainable business case,” said Schaaf.

The launch of Mini requires substantial investment from dealers as BMW plans separate sales network, brand positioning and marketing strategy for this British small car brand.

Meanwhile, BMW is planning to set up another assembly line at its Chennai plant. “By the end of this year we will come to know if we need additional capacity,” he said.

BMW recently increased the capacity of Chennai plant from 10,000 units to 11,000 units a year.

BMW will invest another Rs70 crore in India by the end of 2012, taking its total investment in the country to Rs180 crore.

BMW, which now claims a slight upper edge over its competitor Mercedes Benz in the luxury car segment, almost doubled its volume in the first seven months at 5364 while retaining its 40% plus market share. It targets to achieve 10,000 unit sales this year.

According to Schaaf the luxury car segment in India will grow 70% this year to 23,000 units from 15,000 units last year. In the luxury SUV segment, which accounts for 30% of the premium market, BMW faces intense competition from Audi.