BMW eyes double-digit India sales growth in 2011


German luxury car maker BMW today said it hopes to clock over 2.7% growth in 2011 sales to over 15 lakh vehicles globally, including a 'good double-digit growth' in India, where it sold 6,246 units in 2010.

The company, which reported 19.3% increase in revenue to euro 60.47 billion in 2010 and a net profit of euro 3,234 million, however, said putting up a full-fledged plant in India is a long way to go as volumes are still low.

"We sold 1.46 million vehicles globally in 2010 and plan to sell more cars in 2011 than before – significantly more than 1.5 million. We aim to reach new record sales with all three brands, BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce," BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer told reporters here.

He said the company had sold 1.22 million BMW vehicles 2.3 lakh Mini and 2,711 units of Rolls-Royce in 2010 recording 14.6%, 8.1% and 170.6% growth respectively over the previous year.

Germany, US, China and UK were the key markets for the auto major, even as the company  recorded "dynamic" growth in many smaller markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, South Korea and Turkey.

Commenting on sales target in India, BMW Director (Marketing) Ian Robertson said the company would look at high double-digit growth for the current year.

To keep pace with that, the company has accordingly increased its Chennai assembly plant capacity to 10,000 units per annum from 8,000 earlier.

"We think India has reached to a position where market would be developed very quickly. Now, there is a good momentum. The Indian economy is also in a good shape," he said, adding "demand is very strong and we see a good double-digit growth in the Indian market for the current year".

Asked if that would prompt the company to set up a manufacturing base in India on the lines of Brazil, where BMW is actively considering setting up a manufacturing facility after recording good sales in the last two years, he said, "We need to have an economy of scale. At the moment, Indian market is relatively small compared to the global scale. I think it is too early to say. The market is still very low".

Robertson, however, added that in the next two-three years "we can see some growth and next could see some development on the plant".

As a practice, BMW first sets up an assembly plant in a potential market and depending on the feedback of that market, it upgrades to a full-fledged manufacturing plant.

BMW also plans to double its dealership network in India by the end of 2012, he added.