BMW India, which posted the highest car sales in its history in CY22, is confident of beating its record in the current year on the back of new launches and pending orders.
Vikram Pawah, president, BMW Group India, told FE that the first three months of CY23 have given the carmaker a “very fast start, thanks to the Joytown”, leading to an order pipeline of over 5,500 cars and 4,500 Motorrad motorcycles (Motorrad is the two-wheeler arm of BMW).
Instead of taking part in the Auto Expo 2023, the premium carmaker directly reached out to prospective customers by holding three events called the Joytown (in Delhi on December 10-11, 2022; in Mumbai on January 7-8 and in Bengaluru on January 28-29), where automotive enthusiasts and their family members were invited, and many of them ended up booking cars and motorcycles. Mumbai Joytown, for instance, saw the launch of the all-new 7 Series and the i7 electric car, and the Bengaluru Joytown had the all-new X1.
“We will launch in total 19 car models and three motorcycle models in CY23, including the ones already launched,” Pawah said.
But the carmaker hasn’t been able to keep up the supplies. “We are not yet out of both the chip and the ship (container and supply chain) shortage,” he said. “The average waiting period on our cars right now ranges from 4-6 months, on some cars like the i4, it is more than 12 months, but from June onwards the waiting period on most of our cars would be reduced to about three months.”
As far as electric cars are concerned, Pawah said BMW has emerged as a leader in the luxury segment, with its four distinct products: the MINI Electric, the i4, the iX and the i7. “We have already created an overall electric car demand pipeline (cars that we have supplied and orders that are pending) of almost 600 units,” he said. “We have sold about 220 electric cars till now.”
Of this 600 (already sold plus order-book), the iX (425 km range, Rs 1.21 crore) leads with 280 units, and the i7 (625 km range, Rs 1.95 crore) which was recently launched has a demand pipeline of almost 200 units.
BMW India has also started doing the ‘sneak preview’ of the i5 electric car, but Pawah said that the launch is still a while away.
“While I won’t be able to share how many more electric car models we will launch this year — because a lot depends on supply chain challenges — globally BMW will have 12 electric cars by the end of CY23 and our intention is to bring all of them over a period of time to India,” he said. “Electric cars are in high demand across the world, and there isn’t enough supply, to be honest.”
In CY22, BMW was the country’s second-largest premium carmaker, after Mercedes-Benz (15,822 cars sold) and considerably ahead of Audi India (4,187 cars). In addition, it sold 7,282 motorcycles in CY22.
While there are fears of a global recession impacting the Indian economy, Pawah said it is unlikely to negatively impact car sales. “The Indian economy, I think, will be able to negate any global recessionary trends, because of its intrinsic strengths and a large order-book,” he said.