German luxury car maker BMW has scrapped plans to launch premium small car 'Mini' in India by 2009, citing feasibility reasons.
"Last week, we have taken a decision to scrap plans to bring Mini by 2009. After the feasibility study we had undertaken, it is clear to us that it will not be viable to bring the car that soon," BMW India India President Peter Kronschnabl said.
He, however, reiterated that the company has not completely abandoned the plan to bring Mini in India.
"Probably in another one to one-and-a-half years, we will have a re-look at the issue and assess the market again," he said.
BMW had initially planned to bring Mini by 2009, before which it had commissioned a market research to see the viability of launch the product in the country.
"What we have found is that Mini being a small car coming at a high price of approximately above Rs 20 lakh, it is not going to be a viable option at the moment," Kronschnabl said.
Considering the price sensitive Indian market, there has been a debate as to whether such small car, despite its lineage, will be accepted at such a high price.
He said BMW will be focusing on bringing in new product variants in India to add to its already impressive growth.
"Soon we will be launching the 4.8 litre X5 to widen our portfolio," he said. The vehicle is expected to be priced around Rs 80 lakh.
Currently, BMW sells its 3 Series, 5 Series sedans that are assembled at its Chennai facility, while 7 Series sedan and M3 cars, SUV X3 and X5 are sold through import of completely built units.
Kronschnabl said the company was confident of a good sales growth in India and keep up to its challenge of dethroning its German rival Mercedes in the mid-term (within 3 to 5 years).
"Already in the first quarter of this calendar, we have sold 862 units and in March alone we sold 393 units. Although Mercedes is 12 years ahead of us in entering India, we are confident of catching up with them in the mid-term," he said.
BMW had hiked its production capacity to 3,000 units per year from the initial 1,700 units at its Chennai plant.