German luxury car maker BMW on Friday launched its new 3 series sedan at a price tag of Rs 28.9-37.9 lakh and master blaster Sachin Tendulkar as its show stopper.
The sedan comes at a crucial time for the car maker involved in an intense fight for the top spot in the luxury car segment with country cousin Audi.
The latter has surged past Mercedes this year and a little less than 500 units separate it from BMW so far in 2012. The 3 series, however, is expected to help BMW consolidate its position at the top and break away from Audi in the second half.
“We have a product offensive planned for the second half of the year,” said Andreas Schaaf, president, BMW India. “We have four more launches this year, which will drive sales in the upcoming festival season.”For the first time since its entry into India in 2007, BMW has lagged industry growth as sales have declined marginally in the first six months this year. BMW 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 became BMW’s main competitor for the number 1 spot. The company admitted that demand was sluggish.
“The economic situation is affecting our sales. Realistic scenario for this year is 10% growth,” added Schaaf.
Traditionally, the 3 series is BMW’s second-largest selling car in India after the bigger 5 series but the company believes the new version would result in a shift in that order.
It is leaving no stone unturned to get it right with the 3 series and has roped in a celebrity for the first time.
“I have always been a BMW fan but the real association with it started when I was 14,” Tendulkar said during the launch. “One of the first BMWs that I drove and owned was in 1993. My pockets were not so deep back then so I had to opt for a second-hand BMW and it was a joy to drive that car.”
The little master now owns a BMW M5 and its SUV X5.