BMW India, which launched the 6-series Gran Coupe on November 8 at a price tag of Rs 86.40 lakh, plans to launch a slew of products in 2013. While the new X6 debuts on November 22, the move that will play a key role in BMW remaining at the top of the luxury segment is the launch of the 1-series next year, which is expected to have an entry-level price of under Rs 20 lakh.
The 1-series will be a counter-move by BMW to the expected 2013 launch of the A-class, Mercedes-Benz’s entry level model which could be priced between Rs 18-20 lakh, and the Audi A3, which is also expected to make an India entry. Mercedes-Benz had launched the B-class two months ago earlier to take on the X1.
The 1-series will be preceded by the new 7-series by mid-2013, and the new X1 will debut in January next year. The 1-series and the 7-series will be assembled in India. Currently, BMW assembles the 3-series, 5-series, X1 and the X3. With the new additions, the Chennai plant may go for a capacity increase by 2014, if not earlier. It can currently manufacture 11,000 vehicles annually. That’s around 1,400 vehicles more than BMW’s 2011 sales of 9,371 units, a figure that it hopes to exceed this year.
“The economic situation is not very positive, but we are hopeful,” says Philipp von Sahr, president, BMW Group India. Sahr adds that there has been an “unprecedented” price war in the Indian luxury car market, and stresses that even though the business environment is very competitive, BMW will not offer discounts on its vehicles.
“We look at only premium positioning,” says the BMW chief. The carmaker plans to hike prices by up to 10 percent in January. During the first 10 months of 2012, BMW sold 7,389 units.
BMW also plans to have 40 dealerships by the beginning of 2013, 17 more than what it had at the beginning of 2012. Its concept of mobile dealerships is also being set up in various places to test the waters for setting up full-fledged dealerships.
WHAT’S COMING WHEN
New X6 - November 22
New X1 - January 2013
New 7-series - Mid-2013
1-series - End-2013