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New Delhi, Aug. 30

German luxury carmaker BMW today said it would begin production of cars in India by the early next year and hopes to sell up to 1,000 units inthe first year of operations. The company would only produce its `3' and `5' series models during the first phase of its operations in India.

"The first car will be delivered to our dealers by March next year and we hope to have dealerships across all the major metro cities by 2009," the BMW India President, Mr Peter Kronschnabl, said at the company's headquarters in Gurgaon.

Chennai Plant

Mr Kronschnabl said BMW was investing 20 million (approx Rs 110 crore) for setting up its plant near Chennai, which would have an initial production capacity of 1,700 units per annum on a one-shift basis.

He said while deliveries of the 3 series cars would start by February-March, the locally produced `5' series models would be available by May-June.

"These will be available in both petrol and diesel versions and will carry a localisation of up to 10 per cent to begin with," he added. Mr Kronschnabl further said that BMW viewed India as a strategic market with high potential.

"By 2007 we expect total sales in the luxury cars segment, costing over Rs 20 lakh, to be at 5,000 units which we hope will double by 2010."

He said, going by the initial testing BMW had carried out in India, the locally assembled cars would have adaptations specially designed for the market including higher ground clearance, protection plate under the engine and additional air filter.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 31, 2006)
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