Chennai: German auto major BMW is considering launching its mini car branded the Mini in India.
Peter Kronschnabl, president, BMW India, said the company was open to launching the mini car in India and discussions in this regard were on in the company's headquarters in Germany.(See: BMW's Mini likely to come to India by 2009)
Speaking at the launch of 'BMW M3' and the Kun Exclusive dealer outlet, a spacious centre spread over 20,000 sq ft at Pallavaram on GST Road in Chennai Kronschnabl said the 'mini' car would cost Rs20 lakh.
Without putting a time frame to the launch of the mini he said that the market analysis for the launch was over and discussions about the results of analysis were on at the company's headquarters.
BMW sold 1387 cars in India last year. The company also hiked capacity at its Chennai plant from 1700 units per year in 2007 to 3000 units with an investment of $750,000. It now aims at selling 2000 cars in the country by the end of 2008.
The company is expanding to Tier II cities in India and is planning smaller showrooms in such cities.
"We are looking at cities such as Coimbatore, Jodhpur and Surat, among others, in the country and the first such showroom would be opened by the year-end," Kronschnabl said. He added that three new showrooms would be opened in Kochi, Ahmedabad and Kolkata to the existing nine by June this year.
The Mini brand was acquired by BMW in 1994. The range retails via an ''independent Mini dealer network'' that spans 70 countries. Kronschnabl, affirmed that the same retail model would follow in India as well.
So far BMW India has invested $30 million at its Chennai plant, which caters to about 80 per cent of the domestic sales.
Officials said the 3 and 5 Series produced at the BMW plant in Chennai had the same standards applied globally to all BMW cars.
Kronschnable said the company had sold 229 units in January and 241 units in February.
He added that BMW India employed 200 people, but with plans to expand dealership the indirect jobs would reach 800 by June 2008, he said while ruling out the possibility of exports from the Chennai plant, saying that the focus was on the domestic sales. Engineers were being trained by German professionals for after-sales support of the BMW cars.