The Chennai plant has a capacity to produce 11,000 cars in two shifts
The BMW facility near here will start manufacturing the iconic brand ‘MINI Countryman’, the sports utility vehicle (SUV), from next month onwards. It will be rolled out from New Delhi by the year-end, said its Managing Director Robert Frittrang on Wednesday.
Briefing reporters, he said “It is for the first time that Mini Countryman (a compact crossover of SUV) will be made outside of Europe for the Indian market. It is a four-door SUV with a seating capacity of five people. It will come out in both variants, and would be cheaper than the imported version. We do not have any competition for this segment. The vehicle to be produced will have the same quality standards that apply to BMW group models worldwide.”
At present, the SUV is manufactured at Oxford and Austria. BMW has decided to manufacture Countryman in India as it was very good product for Indian road condition with high ground clearance. The details regarding the actual pricing and number of units to be produced would be finalised based on how the brand developed, he said. Mr. Frittrang said the plant had a capacity to produce 11,000 cars in two shifts. This year, the company had planned to manufacture BMW 7 series, BMW 1 series and Countryman.
By 2014, it was hoping to have 50 dealer outlets across the country.
“We have 40 acres of land at Mahindra World City, and have invested 60 million euro. We have the flexibility to change the assembly line based on the products and we are not looking for any other site. The situation in the European market is stagnating. But it is still improving and we are preparing for the next step. In India, we were the market leaders in 2012 with 12 per cent share,” he said.
According to a release, the locally-produced MINI Countryman will be introduced in two diesel variants - MINI Cooper D Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman High. A new petrol variant of MINI ONE Countryman will also be produced at BMW plant near here.
The other petrol variants of the MINI Countryman - MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper S Countryman High – will be imported into India as completely built-up units (CBUs). The MINI (MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S) and MINI Convertible (MINI Cooper Convertible) will be imported in India as completely built-up units (CBU) in petrol variants.
“India is the 100th market in the global MINI sales network, and has become increasingly significant for the BMW Group since establishing its presence in India from 2007. From January 2012, MINI has continued to grow its presence in India and has established five exclusive outlets across Delhi,’’ the release said.