BMW is hard at work to ensure the Mini finds traction in India, Philipp von Sahr, president, BMW Group, tells KV Ramana in an interaction. Excerpts:
How’s Mini done so far?
We had launched Mini in India in January this year and we are currently working on establishing the brand in India... We don’t focus on short-term strategy. Mini has a total of six models, but we are happy with three models in the market for now.
How do you plan to expand?
We currently have four dealerships in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. We hope to take it to eight by 2014.
How does the market look?
The economic situation is not so nice, to be honest, and we also don’t expect it to be much better in 2013. But in the luxury car market, we expect a certain volume growth particularly for Mini. Our plan to bring some additional models and add additional dealerships should help us get these volumes.
Plan to manufacture Mini here?
Mini is 100% imported since we are just starting to get this to the Indian market. However, if it works well, we don’t exclude the possibility of Mini production in India. There is a big market and a big demand out there.
Will you look at price discounts?
We don’t plan to offer any price support or discounts for Mini. Even for other brands of BMW, there will not be much change since it would damage the brand. We will leave the price discounts to the competition.
What’s your target for Mini?
We expect to close the year with about 300 Mini sales and we have already sold about 280. We don’t have any target for 2013, though we expect to grow and it has to be sustainable.
When will you localise the car?
We have production here in India and we also have a purchase office in India. A lot of parts for Mini are also being purchased in India for worldwide production. India is a very important supplier market for BMW group.