BMW rolls out its cheapest 3-Series cars

Chennai, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 07:02am hrs
Munich-headquartered BMW Group rolled out its first locally-assembled 3-Series, the cheapest car with the BMW badge, in the country on Thursday. The company would also shortly start assembling its 5-Series cars in India. The 3-Series would come with a price tag of Rs 26.7 lakh (ex-showroom) across the country.

It will compete with the Mercedes C-Class, Skoda Superb and the Audi A3 in the domestic market. At the lower end of the spectrum, it would also compete with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.

BMW India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW group, aims to sell around 1,200 units in the country in the next calendar year. The 3-Series would comprise about 90% of unit sales. The Chennai plant, The Chennai plant, group's twenty-third production location across 13 countries worldwide. has an annual capacity of 1,700 units on a single shift basis.

In 2006, the company sold 257 units of completely built cars in 2006. These included the 7-Series, the X5 and the X3 SUVs. It sells diesel as well as petrol variants of various models in India -- Asia's fourth largest car market after China, Japan and Korea.

To achieve the target of 1,200 cars, the company is planning to expand its dealer network to every metro city in the next two years. BMW currently has eight dealers in the country. BMW India has invested around Rs 116 crore on the Chennai facility.

Mini brand cars by 2009
BMW is also eying the lucrative small car segment in India. It plans to launch its premium Mini brand of small cars by 2009. "We are curently doing a market feasibility study to introduce the Mini range of cars. We would introduce Mini brand in India by 2009," said Peter Kronschnabl, president, BMW India.