BMW India has assembled no less than 40,000 cars at its Chennai assembly unit. The 40,000th BMW car to roll out of Chennai was a 5-Series luxury sedan, one of the German automaker’s best selling cars in India. BMW set shop in India during 2006, and set up an assembly facility at Chennai’s Mahindra World City in March 2007. In over 7 years of production, the factory has reached the 40,000 car landmark. The BMW assembly facility has a capacity to produce 11,000 cars each year and the German automaker has invested over 400 crore rupees in the factory.
BMW assembles 8 car models in India, which includes the 3-Series, 5-Series and 7-Series sedans, the 1-Series hatchback, the 3 GT notchback, and the X1, X3 and X5 SUVs. BMW, which owns the Mini brand of sporty hatchbacks, also assembles the Mini Countryman hatchback at Chennai. All cars that BMW assembles in India are imported into the country through the completely knocked down (CKD) kit route. The automaker also sells car models that are directly imported from BMW factories abroad through the completely built unit (CBU) route.
BMW has a slew of launches lined up for the next few months. The M3 and M4 high performance cars will arrive in late November, while the 2014, 4th generation Mini Cooper range of hatchbacks are lined up for a mid-November launch. BMW will launch the facelifted M5 high performance sedan later this year, followed by the i8 Hybrid sportscar early next year. All the new cars that BMW India will launch, up to the i8 Hybrid Sportscar will be imported as CBUs. Currently, BMW occupies the third position in terms of sales in the Indian luxury car segment, behind Audi and Mercedes Benz.
While BMW was the market leader in India a few summers ago within years of the luxury car maker entering India, the novelty of the German car brand has worn off as SUVs have dominated the luxury car space, an area where BMW is weak in. Apart from the X1, none of BMW’s SUVs have dominated hustings, whereas SUVs from Audi and Mercedes Benz have made merry. BMW India has gone back to its roots and is marketing the driving pleasure that its cars are known for. This also explains why BMW is launching a slew of high performance machines such as M3, M4, M5 Facelift and the i8 Hybrid.