Speaking to the media at the unveiling of the BMW 650i in Udaipur, officials of BMW India gave us interesting insights into what the company is planning for the Indian market this year and the next. In this post, IAB reveals some exclusive details.
1) BMW X3
The new BMW X3's assembly could begin by the end of April and it will be fitted with xDrive (4WD system). BMW India is really going to go aggressive with its pricing. For BMW, its first target will be undercutting the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI. So expect the prices to start at around 35 lakh rupees.
2) BMW 6 Series hard top
The 6 Series hard top will "certainly" be sold in India. The convertible model was brought in first to shape the 6 Series brand and the company hopes to sell a good number of vehicles. IAB was told that pricing of the convertible model could have been slightly higher, but the company was not interested in breaching the 1 crore rupees mark.
3) BMW 7 Series local assembly
Another surprise for 2011-12 could be the local assembly of the 7 Series. The local assembly need not bring down prices by a big margin. The 7 Series LCi (facelift) will be the model mulled for local assembly after its international debut, which is still a few months away.
4) BMW X5 CKD not a possibility
The current X5 might not be assembled in India as the price reduction would be insignificant to attract better volumes for this segment.
5) BMW Motorcycle division
BMW are still in the process of understanding the market in India and haven't sold many motorcycles. They silently began their bike business in January 2011 and the pricing of the CBUs aren't helping much in attracting buyers.
6) CKD definition change impact on BMW
Although the company said they were looking into the definition change and have nothing more to add, it is almost certain that BMW will have to pay extra duties in its existing setup. CKD is a very important part of BMW's business in India and starting price of the entry-level models could get pushed up by up to 30 lakh rupees. BMW might have to import the powertrains as a separate entity and lower them into the cars at the Chennai plant to work around this problem. It remains to be seen how swiftly this can be done as the rise in the taxes might have to be passed on to the customer until the arrangements to install powertrains is in place at the plant. Models whose prices could be affected will be both X1 variants, select 3 Series and 5 Series variants.
7) Variants for 2011-12
BMW didn't give anything away on the variants of its existing cars but IAB understands that the company could consider CKD operation of the 535i and launching the 535d variant with a twin-turbo V8 engine. A sDrive 23d variant sporting a 2.0 litre turbodiesel inline four variant producing 200hp and 400Nm of torque might sit in the engine bay of the X1 sDrive 23d for late 2011 and the F30 (next generation 3 Series) is expected before the second half of 2012. Earlier this year BMW India manufactured about 25 units of the 330i at Chennai with M Package accessories and a performance chip to boost the 3-liter straight six' output to 300hp.