In my last post on TTAC, I wrote about how Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW are aggressively fighting for leadership in the luxury car market in India. This segment is just 20,000 units a year, but is expected to reach 1,50,000 units a year by 2020. Audi was breathing down the neck of BMW. However, BMW has bolstered its number one position with the launch of the F30 3-Series. The German automaker launched the new 3-Series in style, bringing in all the six generations of the 3-Series for the launch.
BMW has roped in Indian cricket superhero Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador, who unveiled the car to the media. The new 3-Series is offered in 5 variants (4 diesel and 1 gasoline) across 2 engines – 320d and 328i. More variants of the 3-Series will be launched later. Even before launch, BMW had received 500 bookings for the car, which is not bad considering the 3-Series range starts at Rs. 28.9 lakhs ($ 52,300 + another $ 8000 for registration, insurance and road tax). The top of the line 3-Series (328i) is priced at Rs. 37.9 lakhs ($ 68,600).
Audi will probably not launch any new vehicle in 2012. They have already launched the facelifted A4, new Audi TT, Q3 and S4 in the Indian market. The company is still considering whether the Audi Q7 V12 TDI should be brought into India, as the Indian conditions are very dusty and the carbon ceramic brakes don’t cope well with such an environment. Mercedes-Benz has already launched the new M-Class and will bring in the B-Class later this year. However, BMW plans to launch the X1 and X6 facelifts, along with the new 6-Series Coupe and 7-Series in India. Product onslaught is BMWs way of ensuring they stay on the top.
Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the auto industry of India.