Mini out to woo India

Tags: News

BMW eyes half of domestic luxury car market with British brand priced at Rs 24 lakh

With arrival of iconic British luxury car brand Mini in India on Thursday, BMW is looking to have almost half of the country’s luxury car market pie by 2013. The group that already has a market share in excess of 40 per cent, is targeting 50 per cent market share by end of next year when the Mini brand would properly settle down in the Indian market, Andreas Schaaf, president, BMW India told Financial Chronicle.

“In the first year, we will look at opening Mini dealerships and building the Mini brand. Next year, sales of the Mini are expected to be even higher,” Schaaf added. He said that the Indian luxury car market size in 2011 stood at around 23,000 units. Though BMW has not disclosed its sales for the year 2011, Schaaf said the company has seen a growth of about 50 per cent over last year’s 7,079 cars in 2010.

Industry projections estimate the luxury car market to grow at 30-40 per cent for the next few years with around 30,000 units in 2011 and 35,000 units in 2012 following entry of new players and cost-competitive models. BMW’s X1 sports utility vehicle would alone account for about a fifth of the luxury car market, Schaaf said.

BMW Group on Thursday launched the Mini premium small car brand in India between Rs 24.90 lakh and Rs 31.99 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The company has launched four models — Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, Convertible and Countryman. While bookings for Mini cars have already started, deliveries will begin in March 2012 with three exclusive Mini dealers in New Delhi and Mumbai.

“We are not looking at volumes initially in India. We are looking to build the Mini brand. The Mini cars will feature 1.6 litre petrol engine. There is no plan of diesel engines for time being,” said Kay Segler, senior vice-president, Mini brand management and business coordination.

The Mini Cooper cars, available in six-speed automatic transmission, will be imported as completely built units from the UK, attracting duties of up to 110 per cent. The company is not looking at assembling the models in India. The Mini will compete with Volkswagen’s Beetle priced around Rs 20.5 lakh. Segler expects the top-end convertible model to be the most popular in India.

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