BMW Group of Germany is readying to deepen its engagement with India.

Indicating this at a press conference here on Thursday to announce the national launch of a couple of variants of its best selling BMW 3 series sedan, Peter Kronschnabl, president of BMW India, said that “The BMW Group will increase its commitments in India by bringing in more investments into the country.’’

As part of its exercise to beef up its presence in India, BMW, he said, was planning to expand its production capacity at its plant in the Mahindra World City near hear and increase manpower across its subsidiaries and facilities in India.

While declining to hazard any guess on the size of fresh investment into its production facility, the president, however, said that the BMW Group would infuse $50 million into its finance arm – BMW Financial Services India.

He said that that the BMW Group had already moved the Reserve Bank of India seeking licence to operate BMW Financial Services as a non-banking financial services company (NBFC). BMW, he said, would soon be the first luxury car maker in the country to have its own financial arm that provided leasing option for corporate clients to buy BMW cars. Mr. Kronschnabl saw huge car selling opportunity for BMW in the leasing route.

To a question, he admitted that the move to enter leasing business and the plan for capacity expansion were inter-related and formed an overall part of the Group’s strategy for India. To another question, he said BMW would within the next couple of months or so firm up its investment and capacity expansion plans in India. In major markets, BMW had been using the leasing route to drive sales, he pointed out.

“The future belongs to India,’’ he said. “If you want to benefit from the dynamics of the Indian market later, you need to act today,’’ he asserted. Mr. Kronschnabl made it clear that “our business focus will remain focused on the long-term.”

While announcing the launch of new BMW 3301 petrol version (ex-showroom price Rs.33, 40,000) and BMW 320d Corporate Edition diesel version (ex-showroom price Rs.23, 95.000), the President said the company would launch the new BMW X1 in India this year. This would be CKD (completely knocked down) produced at the BMW plant near here, he added. By the end of 2010, the India plant would be churning out BMW 3 series, BMW 5 series and also BMW X1.

BMW, he said, would also expand its dealer operations to 10 additional cities in the country. Currently, it has 17 dealer facilities across India. The company would also look into expanding its dealership to Tier-II cities this year, he said.

Mr. Kronschnabl said that BMW would make a foray into pre-owned car business with the launch of BMW Premium Selection in India.

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