Philipp von Sahr in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Fotocorp)
Mumbai, Sept. 3: BMW will launch its new 5 Series in the country later this year, close on the heels of showcasing the models at the Frankfurt auto show this month, president Philip von Sahr said today.
BMW today launched the 1 Series hatchback here today.
“Though the 1 Series priced at Rs 20.90 lakh will be our entry-level car, our bread-and-butter cars continue to be the 3 and 5 Series,” von Sahr said.
The 1 Series will be available in two engine options. The 116I petrol variant will cost Rs 20.90 lakh, while the 118d diesel version is priced at Rs 22.90 lakh (ex-showroom).
Till the 5 Series hits the market, BMW India is betting on the new 1 Series.
BMW will locally assemble the car in Chennai, which has allowed to keep the price lower than rival Mercedes’s entry-level car A-Class. Mercedes imports the A-Class from Hungary, and the base price of the premium hatchback is Rs 23.4 lakh.
BMW has lost the No. 1 position in the premium segment to Audi, but von Sahr said he was not concerned. “The 1 Series completes our portfolio. We are not in the number game. We are interested in a long sustainable growth in India.”
Taking a dig at Audi, he said, “We do not believe in volumes coming from discounting.”
Refusing to give any sales figures for 2013, he said, “This year has been difficult for the entire auto industry, and it has been no different with us. However, we have a clear strategy of building our product portfolio, strengthening our dealership network.” BMW posted a flat growth in 2012 by selling 9,375 units.
The company is also stepping up assembly operations at the Chennai plant. It will raise its total investment in the facility to Rs 390 crore by the end of this year.