BMW upbeat on India

20 December 2012

NEW DELHI: BMW, the automaker, believes that luxury car sales will continue to rise in India, as growing consumer demand works alongside enhancing its own reach and range in the country.

The German company expects interest in high-end automobiles to rapidly increase in India, encouraged by long term trends such as increasing affluence levels and urbanisation.

"The total luxury car market in India is around 30,000 units at the moment but we think it will grow next year," Philipp von Sahr, president of BMW Group India, told DNA.

"Indians are car crazy. They love cars. This is a great country with a lot of history and a vast market."

Over the course of 2011, BMW sold 9,371 vehicles in India, and the organisation anticipates delivering "similar if not higher numbers" during 2012 as a whole, von Sahr added.

BMW recently rolled out its MINI marque in India, and while the domestic fiscal climate is not as favourable as in the recent past, von Sahr argued this could be overcome by increasing distribution.

"Though the economic situation is not so positive, with additional dealers and additional models there is always a potential to grow," he said.

As the MINI is a comparatively compact small car, BMW has high hopes it will be able to occupy a distinct position within the market, initially in first, second and third tier cities.

While it is currently only available in three major cities – namely, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi – BMW's aspirations are much greater. "The MINI market is huge," von Sahr said.

However, promotions and discounting are not likely to form part of the firm's approach, as this would damage brand equity in the eyes of consumers.

"BMW as a group is always known for a strategy which is sustainable and not short term sales," von Sahr said.

"If you start with discounts it will immediately damage the brand. We want to develop MINI brand and also the other brands."

Data sourced from DNA; additional content by Warc staff