BMW to launch X1 and 5 series models in 2010

German luxury carmaker BMW is aiming at the upwardly mobile Indian consumer with a planned launch the BMW X1 model and new 5 Series models in the current calendar year.

"The new 5 series in completely knocked down (CKD) version will be available for Indian customers by July 2010. X1 will be on roads by December 2010," BMW India's president Peter Kronschnabl said at a press conference in Munich yesterday.

The models had debuted in European markets at the fag end of 2009. The luxury carmaker, which is expecting its global revenue growth to be driven by these models, is also bullish on their prospects in the Indian market.
"Though we haven't yet started bookings, we have got a phenomenal response from the customer survey in India for both the models," added Kronschnabl.

India is fast emerging as an important market for BMW, which suffered declining sales during 2009 due to the global economic crisis. The carmaker sold 3,697 units in India in 2009, a 38 per cent increase from the year ago while globally its sales took a beating and were down 10.4 per cent to 1.28 million vehicles in 2009. Its share in India's luxury car segment has grown from a mere 9 per cent three years ago to 41 per cent in 2009.

X1 will roll out of BMW's Chennai plant in which it will invest an additional 30 per cent from its current investment of Rs110 crore to accommodate production of the new model. Also, the company will add 30 per cent additional staff to its current headcount of 200.

Kronschnabl also said BMW was actively seeking to increase its presence in the used car segment and will start selling pre-owned cars from April 2010. Its first used-car showroom will come up in Chennai and then in Gurgaon in the second half of the year.