Launches new sports utility vehicle in two variants

Buoyed by its increasing sales, BMW on Tuesday said it had raised the production capacity at its Chennai plant to 5,400 units annually.

The German luxury carmaker also launched ‘X5' sports utility vehicle (SUV) in two variants — X5 xDrive50i (petrol) priced at Rs.69.50-lakh and X5 xDrive30d (diesel) at Rs.52.99 lakh.

“We are strengthening our commitment in the growth market of India. As a first step, the local production capacity at the BMW plant in Chennai has been increased from 3,000 to 5,400 units and the dealer network further expanded. India is a market that holds great potential for the future for us and is a building block in our global market offensive,” BMW India President Andreas Schaaf told journalists here.

Logistics centre

“We will also be gearing the plant to produce a further model for the Indian market, X1, starting in November and, thereby, opening up new customer segments,” he said, and informed that a new vehicle logistics centre would also be set up on the grounds of the Chennai plant, for which land has already been acquired. By mid-2012, the BMW Group would have invested a total of Rs.180 crore in India since launching its production in 2007, which includes fresh investment of Rs.70 crore.

On the new SUV, Mr. Schaaf said: “X5 remains a benchmark and with greater supremacy than ever; it combines the joy of driving with elegance, efficiency, safety and unmatched performance. We are confident that the trend-setting qualities of the new X5 will win admiration amongst individuals who do not negotiate on luxury and performance whether on or off-road.”

He further said BMW India would start its pre-owned car business — BMW Premium Selection — by the end of this year. BWM will also start offering its financial services through its non-banking finance arm — BMW Financial Services India — by this year-end, giving retail and commercial financing and insurance solutions. BMW India is also expanding its manpower strength to 400 by the end of this year from 200 now. BMW is undertaking a major dealership expansion plan in India.

“We will enhance its customer reach to 22 dealers by 2011 from 18 outlets at present to cater to new locations. We will open new dealerships in Indore, Surat, Bhubaneshwar and Ludhiana next year,” Mr. Schaaf added. Notably, BMW India sold 3,619 units in 2009.

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