BMW to position brand Mini in new segment in India

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The BMW group is looking to position Mini brand as a new auto segment (small premium car) in India. Having witnessed fairly successful sale of about 280 cars since its launch in January, the firm is hopeful of ending the year with 300 units, according to Philipp von Sahr, president of BMW India.

“The economic situation in India is not so nice now to be honest. However, in the luxury car segment, we expect certain volume growth from Mini, mainly because of additional models and additional dealerships,” he said. He did not expect any big changes in the economic situation next year and Mini would top the growth for BMW while other brands too would grow in 2013, he said.

Mini has four dealerships and would add another four by 2014. “At the moment, we are in the starting phase. Now the effort is to make the brand Mini known in India and are looking at a long-term success,” he added. However, Sahr ruled out any aggressive pricing or offering discounts for volumes. Instead, it would be steady journey of four to five years for a pan India recognition of the brand Mini. A significant investment will go into the brand building, he said.

The Mini range, including Cooper, Convertible and Countryman, is now available in India as completely built-up units. “We will see the potential of the market. There is surely big demand. We are learning about the market. If it works out well we will not exclude the possibility of Mini production in India,” he said.

On localisation of Mini, he said a many parts are shaped in India for Mini for the worldwide production. “India is an important supplier market for the BMW group, especially for Mini,” he said.

With its three brands — BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce — the BMW group is a key player in the premium sector of the Indian automobile market. The group is also into marketing motorcycles and financial services for its clientele. The BMW Group has so far invested about Rs 180 crore. It has set up a production plant in Chennai with a capacity to produce 11,000 units a year on a double shift basis and a spare parts warehouse in Mumbai among others.

krishnamohan@mydigitalfc.com

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