This year would be a solid one for BMW: Vikram Pawah

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 21, 2021

Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India   -  BusinessLine

BMW Group India launched the new 3 Series Gran Limousine priced between ₹ 51.50 lakh and ₹ 53.90 lakh (ex-showroom)

BMW Group India has launched the new 3 Series Gran Limousine priced between ₹ 51.50 lakh and ₹ 53.90 lakh (ex-showroom) as introductory prices.

It is locally produced at BMW Group plant, Chennai exclusively for the Indian market, which is expected to create a new category in the entry level Sedan segment. India is the second country in the world to manufacture this car, after China.

In an interview with BusinessLine, Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India, shares more details and plans for the year ahead. Excerpts:

What are your expectations from the new 3 Series Gran Limousine?

The product is a new concept/ value proposition altogether. Yes, it is a 110mm longer than the normal 3 Series -- the longest or the most spacious sedan in its segment so I think its going to create a new segment, or a new class in the entry level sedan segment for sure. It is also completely suitable for 'Made in India', and India is the only market in the world to make a right-hand drive version of this model. The only other market that sells this product is China, in left-hand drive version.

What is the volume you have sold of the 3 Series?

It is a successful product in the markets that we sell. The 3 Series is the volume driver for BMW brand worldwide. It has millions and millions of fans over the years and in this generation as well we expect that it even make stronger proposition for our customers. On volumes, I won't have individual numbers to share, but the 3 Series contributes roughly around 30 per cent to our overall sales.

At present, the Indian customers are preferring SUVs over the sedans in the passenger car market. Is it the same trend in the luxury car market?

You are right that the market has shifted to SUVs and in our terminology we call them sports activity vehicles (SAVs). Having said that we see our range of SAVs contribute over 50 per cent of our total's not 70 per cent as the other passenger car market. So we have a balance with the line-upin both these segments and locally produced, and every price segment.

What would be your line-up for this year?

We have 25 different products launches over three brands of BMW, Mini and Motarrad in 2021. The Gran Limousine is the second launch this year and we have 23 more to go.

How optimistic are you for the year 2021? You are launching 25 new products, so will it be a volume-driven or profit driven strategy?

No one can forget 2020 in our lifetime probably, but I can see 2021 as an optimist and I am confident about it. There are a couple of reasons for that -- one is, we don't have any shutdown of markets in 2021 unlike in 2020, when we had three-four months of complete closure -- no business. The second aspect is, after the pandemic the world is becoming very visible and the trend is the demand for personal mobility, which is going up. Because, as you're not travelling on holidays, but locally and you are trying to do more with driving yourself. That gives us optimism to derive that opportunity in terms of personal mobility and luxury mobility.

What is your plan towards plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles?

BMW Group at global level is one of the leaders in the electrified vehicles. It was in 2013 that we were one of the first ones in the luxury car makers to introduce the electric powered car the i3 and then we keep adding including the i8. And, we have been fairly successful even in the Indian market as well and sell some of these here. We are in the forefront of further electrification on a global perspective so we are going to launch 25 electrified products starting from 2021 all the way to 2023. Half of them will be fully electric and the balance after the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Our aim is to provide a power of choice to our customers. We will have the enitre range in India as well but it will purely depend on how India prepares its infrastructure for electric cars. That is critical part for us.

What is your expansion plans for the Mini and Motorrad?

We have actually attained the top position in the premium bike market in 2020, even being a pandemic year. I think this was because of our strategy about introducing products that are suitable for India and making sure that the operations are aligned to the Indian customer requirements. This will be another solid growth year for BMW, Mini and BMW Motarrad brands.

Published on January 21, 2021

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