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BMW tests non-metros with mobile showrooms

Special Correspondent
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Mangalore dealer eyes double digit sales every month

President of BMW India Philipp von Sahr at the announcement of opening of a new dealership in Mangalore on Wednesday.— PTI
President of BMW India Philipp von Sahr at the announcement of opening of a new dealership in Mangalore on Wednesday.— PTI

Mangalore is one of the fastest growing non-metro cities in South India and will play an important role on BMW’s market offensive in India, said Philipp von Sahr, president, BMW Group, India.

He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating a new BMW dealership in Mangalore on Wednesday.

Navnit Kachalia, Chairman and Managing Director, Navnit Group, said the number of BMWs he expected to sell in Mangalore was “in double digit” each month.

Mr. Sahr said of the 10.6 lakh cars BMW sold last year, 9,371 were sold in India. Its cars sold most in Delhi and Mumbai and the company was then focusing on Hyderabad and Bangalore. By the end of 2014, BMW India would aggressively expand its dealer network by increasing the number of sales outlets to 50 across major metropolitan centres and emerging markets in India.

Mr. Sahr said that for the first time, BMW sold more cars in China than the U.S. or Germany. The company sold 3 lakh cars this year. “At the moment, it (country with highest BMW sales) is China,” he said. However, much depends on the government decisions and since depending on specific markets was “a dangerous strategy”, it had one-third of its market in the U.S., one-third in Europe, and one-third in Asia, he said.

In an attempt to gauge the market for luxury cars in non-metros of India, BMW had set up mobile showrooms.

The aim was to learn more about the city and to see if there was potential for luxury cars, he said and added that it helped reduce real estate costs.

The aim was to gauge the market and if there was a good response to the mobile showroom, a dealership was set up. It built confidence in the customer. The three-month-old strategy was employed only in India. In Dehradun, four or five cars were sold within hours at the mobile showroom and the response at the company’s other six mobile showrooms in India had “been similar”, said Abhay Dange, Press and Corporate Affairs, BMW Group India.

He said the company had a compact electric vehicle in the pipeline for launch in the U.S. and Europe. The company’s Chennai plant produced BMW 3 Series, 5 Series and X1 in petrol and diesel variants. It has a capacity of producing 11,000 units a year. In 2013, the plant will produce BMW 7 Series and 1 Series.

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