Companies

BMW keeps lead in luxury car market with 73% growth in 2010

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2011 Published on January 24, 2011

The car assembling plant of BMW near Chennai (file photo). -- Bijoy Ghosh   -  Bijoy Ghosh

BMW India announced on Monday that it has maintained its lead in the luxury car market for the second year in a row. In 2010, the German carmaker sold 427 units more than compatriot automaker Mercedes-Benz.

The company's total sales rose 73 per cent in the year to 6,246 units, largely on the strong sales of its sedans — 3 series sales doubled in the year to 2,432 units and the 5 series sold 2,403 units. With other popular models such as the 7 series saloon and X5 SUV selling 535 and 228 units, respectively, the company held on to a 40 per cent share of the segment. In 2009, BMW sold 3,619 units — 369 units more than Mercedes-Benz.

Last month, BMW also launched its cheapest model in India — the X1 crossover at a starting price of Rs 22 lakh. With rival Mercedes-Benz's product prices starting at a higher Rs 27.75 lakh (C-Class), BMW hopes that the X1 would help it retain pole position this year. The company, which entered India in 2007, currently assembles the X1, 3 and 5 series sedans at its Chennai plant.

Mercedes-Benz India sold 5,819 units in 2010, registering a higher growth over BMW in the year at 80 per cent. The largest volumes were garnered by the E-Class (2,490 units) and C-Class (2,070 units) sedans, while the SUV range of M-Class, GL-Class and R-Class sold 523 units in total. Mercedes-Benz assembles the C, E and S class sedans in India.

The third German competitor in the segment — Volkswagen group company Audi — came third on sales of 3,003 units in 2010. With sales rising 81 per cent in 2010, Audi India expects more than 50 per cent growth in 2011. The company is also expected to launch the new A6 and A8 L (extended wheelbase) sedans this year.

Luxury car market

“In the last two years, the growth has been phenomenal. With rising income levels, the age group of customers buying luxury cars has significantly come down to around 40-45 years from 50-55 years. It is important to now have a large portfolio and offer more cars at entry prices to build the brand and volumes,” said Mr Abdul Majeed, Auto Practice Leader, PwC.

The overall luxury car market grew around 60 per cent this year to more than 15,000 units. To further boost growth in the world's second fastest growing auto market, players such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are now rapidly expanding their network to smaller cities, starting a financial services arm and expanding their used car business.

>roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 24, 2011
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