Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India was a happy man, as the BMW stand attracted a major media attention, as the BMW i8 was one of the most spoken about vehicle not-to-be-missed at the Auto Expo 2014. To top this, the company had invited, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar to unveil this new sports car. We speak to the man himself, and ask more about BMW’s plans and the current strategy about the brand.
Q1) BMW has launched the 3 Series GT. There were even talks of the 3 Series Convertible making its way, can we expect that anytime soon?
Ans) BMW launched the 3 Series GT, but at the moment it is a CBU. It isn’t that easy to get models even if they are CBUs, because one needs to train all the dealers and staff, ensure sufficient parts are available and other investments that go for customer satisfaction. BMW is committed to the Indian market and our focus to provide the customer with what they want. We can introduce the 3 Series Convertible, but considering the investment for it, the sales numbers won’t be enough for the initial cost.
Q2) Tell us something about the 3 Series GT.
Ans) A revolutionary concept, the all-new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, combines the sporty yet elegant character of a coupé with high functionality and impressively versatile interior. With countless innovations and thoughtful details, the all-new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo presents a new stylistic assurance around the use of space, boasts a distinctive presence on the road and offers similarly pronounced driving pleasure.
Q3) BMW is charging a premium over its competition and how has the response been?
Ans) We do charge a premium over our competing brands and there is no hiding in that. BMW is a more premium brand and that is why the extra cost comes in. What we give in return is a better product and far more superior service to our clients. This segment is all about what the brand is and the experience it delivers and we do that. Discounts on product affect the brand and we don’t encourage our dealers to do that.
Q4) Is BMW also focusing on Tier 2 cities for further expansion?
Ans) BMW will be expanding its reach to more Tier 2 cities. This helps us to reach out to other customers and at the same time, we have a better service network for those who travel often.
Q5) What is the approximate sales split between metros and other cities?
Ans) I do not remember the exact number, but about 80 to 90 percent of our business happens in cities like Delhi and Mumbai. This is what BMW is targeting, educated customers who are aware of the BMW brand and its engineering. We will like to target those people who are passionate and love to drive also.
Q6) How much percentage of your sales are of the sedans compared to the SUVs?
Ans) The BMW sedans have a 60 percent share in our sales, while the SUVs form about 40 percent of the sale.