Carmaker tips his hat to Bangalore’s ground reality
Sitting amidst eight BMW cars in shades of blue, white and steel, with price tags ranging from Rs.28 lakh to over Rs.1.39 crore, BMW Group India president Phillip Von Sahr jests: “Driving in a BMW car around potholes can also be a fun experience.”
At a media interaction, even the representative of one of the most sought-after status symbols was forced to acknowledge the ground reality in Bangalore.
Talking about the “dynamic” Indian market, he said Indians were “car crazy” and there was a need to tap their aspiration levels. The car business is always about emotion and Indian customers are more emotional than the average global customer. “Customer relations are an integral part of sales in the Indian scenario.”
For car manufacturers, Mr. Sahr said, the growing Indian market is more important than the European market. As many as 9,371 BMWs were sold across India in 2011, but in 2012 from January to November, the number was 8,315.
Pointing out the challenges in the Indian market, he said that it was extremely heterogeneous. “India is unique. For instance, cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are completely different from each other!”
Interestingly, several tier two cities such as Chandigarh, Jaipur, Mangalore, Kochi and Ahmedabad were emerging as important markets. BMW had opened a new showroom in Mangalore this week. Mr. Sahr said the company introduced the concept of pre-owned cars last year and this business was as good as the new car business. “Sachin’s [Tendulkar] first BMW was also a used BMW. This market is growing,” he said.