After the cheapest, get ready for India’s costliest small carMarch 11th, 2008 - 8:29 pm ICT by admin
Chennai, March 11 (IANS) After India’s Tata group hit international headlines by launching the world’s cheapest small car Nano for $2,500, German car maker BMW may launch its Mini - easily the costliest small car in the country at over $49,000. “The team that carried out the feasibility study for the launch of Mini has submitted its report. It is being studied by our headquarters,” Peter Kronschnabl, president of BMW India Pvt Ltd, said here Tuesday.
Launching the company’s first dealer outlet in Chennai, Kun Exclusive, he said: “Mini is not just a car. It is a brand. BMW has to study the feasibility of its launch here.”
According to him, Mini would cost no less than Rs.2 million ($49,443.8) and would be the costliest small car in the country.
The company is currently looking at launching the X6 model. “Homologation of a vehicle takes at least six months. X6 will not be (launched) before 2009,” said Kronschnabl.
This year BMW India has added models like BMW M3 Coupe, BMW M5 Sedan, BMW M6 Coupe, BMW M6 Convertible, BMW X5 4.8i, BMW 6 series individual and BMW 7 series individual, in addition to its existing range like BMW 3, 5, 6, 7 and X series to its portfolio.
Upbeat about the company’s operations in India, Kronschnabl said BMW has increased its Chennai plant’s capacity by 1,300 units to 3,000 per year at an outlay of $750,000.
“With this, the total investment in Chennai plant is $13 million,” he added.
Last year, BMW India sold 1,387 units (251 units of 7 series, 743 of 3 series, 340 of 5 series and the rest a mix of 6 series, X3 and X5 models) as against a target of 1,000 units.
With a sales target of 2,000 units for this calendar year, the breakeven point for BMW India is fast-nearing though Kronschnabl refuses to commit any number.
Going by the sales logged in January (229 units) and February (241 units) this year BMW India seems ready to meet the target.
The 3 and 5 series manufactured at its Chennai plant has around 10 percent local content. The company is sourcing the seat and door panels from local vendors.
Speaking on the company’s plans of expanding the dealer network, Kronschnabl said BMW would have 12 dealers in tier-one cities.
“In the second phase of our distribution network expansion we will set up small outlets in tier-two cities,” he added.
“BMW dealership costs sizeable money. We have invested around Rs.60 million here,” said Vasanthi Bhupati, director, Kun Exclusive.
Meanwhile the company has beefed up its global sourcing team to study opportunities for component purchase from India for BMW’s global operations.
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