Power talk

Powertalk with Dr. Andreas Schaaf, President, BMW Group India

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Before joining BMW Group Korea, he was the Head of Market Development for the region Asia, Pacific, Africa, and Central & Eastern Europe. Dr. Andreas Schaaf, who was Vice President with responsibility of Sales and Marketing, BMW Group Korea, assumed responsibility as President of BMW India in May 2010. Within 2 years BMW had replaced Mercedes Benz.

  • How has your experience been with regards to BMW in India?

India is a country which is witnessing dynamic growth. BMW India has dealerships across the country. Each of these regions is different in terms of culture, geographical terrain, climate, infrastructure, religious composition, human resources and also types of customers. Despite this diversity, we have been able to successfully establish the same international BMW standards throughout the country whether it is pertaining to dealerships or service excellence. To work in such extraordinary diverse conditions is an exceptional strength in itself. My experience in India has been immensely enriching. India is truly a land of unique challenges and opportunities.

  • Since BMW has started manufacturing cars in India, how has the progress been for the BMW group in India?

BMW India has achieved the following strategic goals in the luxury car segment in India First: BMW has emerged as the Strongest and the Most Coveted Brand; Second: BMW India has the Most Desirable Product Portfolio; Third: BMW India has established the most efficient Dealer Network.BMW India has retained the Number One position in the luxury car segment in India for the third consecutive year. With 9371 cars delivered to customers in the calendar year 2011 (50% increase in twelve months), BMW India has achieved a market share of over 43% in 2011 (from 9% at the end of 2006).With its three brands, BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group has its sight set firmly on the premium sector of the Indian automobile market. Along with its automotive concerns, the BMW Group\’s activities in India comprise the marketing of motorcycles, as well as financial services for its premium clientele.Headquartered in Gurgaon (National Capital Region), BMW India is a 100% subsidiary of the BMW Group. Till date, BMW Group has invested 1.8 billion Indian Rupees. The wide range of BMW activities in India include the establishment of a production plant in Chennai, a parts warehouse in Mumbai and development of a dealer organisation across major metropolitan centres of the country.The BMW Plant Chennai produces the BMW 3 Series, the BMW 5 Series and the BMW X1 in petrol and diesel variants.  The new BMW X3 is produced in diesel variants. The BMW Plant Chennai has the capacity to produce 11,000 units per year on a double shift basis. The total number of employees at BMW India is 650. More than 1200 additional jobs have been created in the dealer and service network.To bring Sheer Driving Pleasure at an exceptional value, BMW India offers ˜BMW Premium Selection\’ with the finest range of pre-owned BMW vehicles that are carefully selected and comprehensively examined for quality. BMW Premium Selection vehicles can be ordered through exclusive BMW Premium Selection dealerships at seven locations in the Indian market: Bird Automotive (Gurgaon), Krishna Automobiles (Ludhiana), Infinity Cars (South Mumbai), Bavaria Motors (Pune), Navnit Motors (Bangalore), KUN Exclusive (Chennai) and KUN Exclusive (Hyderabad).BMW Financial Services operates with three business lines: Retail Finance, Commercial Finance and Insurance Solutions (through cooperation partners). The services offered through BMW Financial Services in India are significantly valuable to the premium clientele who require exclusive and flexible financial solutions. Service excellence is the primary focus of operations across all business lines.

  • Which series has been the most successful in the Indian Market?

The BMW 3 Series, BMW 5 Series, BMW X1 and the BMW X3 are the most successful products in the Indian market.Since its inception, the BMW 3 Series has been the undisputable premium sedan and there is no doubt that the recently launched sixth-generation of the BMW 3 Series will surpass the magnificent success that its predecessors received. The all-new BMW 3 Series will establish a new benchmark in the Indian luxury car segment and contribute to BMW\’s winning streak in India.The 5 Series is the core model in our product portfolio and is the world\’s most popular premium executive sedan. Splendid design, flawless workmanship, driver orientation with ideally placed instruments and intuitive operation, the new BMW 5 Series embodies a formula to captivate the senses. The BMW 5 Series is everything a BMW sedan is meant to be: aesthetic, dynamic and efficient.The BMW X1 is a modern compact sports activity vehicle that for the first time brought premium BMW characteristics into the compact vehicle segment. The BMW X1 set a benchmark by bringing together features of a Sports Activity Vehicle with spontaneous flexibility and outstanding fuel economy. The BMW X1 is the perfect vehicle for customers focusing on areas such as leisure activities and lifestyle in their choice of car.With the sports activity vehicle BMW X3, we made a clear statement. The BMW X3 is elegant like a true BMW and spacious like no other car in the segment. The enhanced agility, optimised driving comfort and innovative equipment options in the BMW X3 are designed not just to drive but to live the road, feel every bend and master every terrain.

  • What are the future plans for the Indian buyers and the Indian market? Considering the cut-throat competition in the luxury cars segment in India, how does the BMW Group keep itself ahead of the others?

With a carefully planned and successfully executed market entry strategy, and consistent sales performance, BMW India has achieved market leadership in the luxury car segment in India.BMW India is the pioneer in bringing luxurious dealerships to India and has set a decisive course by setting up BMW dealerships of international standards across the country.  Currently, BMW India has 25 sales outlets in the Indian market. By end of 2012, BMW India will aggressively expand its dealer network by increasing the number of sales outlets to 40 across major metropolitan centers and emerging markets in India.BMW Mobile Showrooms, as an innovative retail concept, is different from the existing models and aims to reach customers in emerging markets. Today, BMW India has millions of fans and many of them come from emerging cities. The BMW Mobile Showrooms will reach cities that have the potential to be covered under the existing BMW sales and service network. Covering seven states, the BMW Mobile showroom will visit Karnal (Haryana), Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Patna (Bihar), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), and Nashik, Maharashtra.BMW India is well positioned in the Indian market with the most desirable product portfolio. BMW dealerships presently display the BMW 3 Series, the BMW 5 Series, the BMW X1 and the BMW X3 that are produced at the BMW Plant Chennai. BMW dealerships also display the BMW 6 Series, the BMW 7 Series, the BMW X5, the BMW X6, the BMW Z4, and the BMW Gran Turismo which are available in the country as CBUs (completely built-up) units. The BMW M3 Coupé, the BMW M3 Convertible, the BMW M5, the BMW X6 M, the BMW 6 Series Individual and the BMW 7 Series Individual can also be ordered as CBUs at BMW India dealerships.BMW India will launch an aggressive product offensive in 2012 and cover all the opportunities in the Indian luxury car segment which are relevant. BMW India recently launched the all-new BMW 3 Series. This will be followed by launch of the all-new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, the new BMW 7 Series, the new BMW X1 and the new BMW X6.

  • Your personal favorite BMW vehicle and Why?

My favorite BMW vehicle is the BMW 7 Series. The BMW 7 Series stands for inspiring luxury, thrilling driving dynamics, and overwhelming visual presence. It is the result of stylish design and the supreme art of engineering. This top-end luxury saloon owes its trendsetting character to a wide range of innovations serving to make driving and travelling in the new BMW 7 Series an experience and lasting impression the driver and occupants will enjoy forever.The other BMW that I really enjoy driving is the BMW 6 Series Convertible. The new BMW 6 Series Convertible with its breathtaking aesthetics is the perfect vehicle for an exclusive lifestyle. The elegant silhouette, torquey engine, perfect road holding and refined interiors with perfection to the smallest detail of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible create an ultra-luxurious open-top driving experience that could not possibly get any better.

  • Has the success of the X1 encouraged your team to produce smaller/more affordable cars for India?

With the launch of the BMW X1, we further redefined the Sports Activity Vehicle segment. With its agility and versatility, the BMW X1 guaranteed a new driving experience and opened up a new luxury segment in the compact Sports Activity / Sports Utility Vehicle class, demonstrating once again the company\’s fine sense for pioneering automotive trends. The BMW X1 has received extremely positive feedback from the market and is the largest selling luxury compact SAV in India today.

  • Is the X-Drive going to be introduced in India any time soon? If Yes, when approximately; If No, Any particular reason as to why?

25 years on from the market launch of the first all-wheel-drive model, BMW has secured itself an outstanding position in the market for all-wheel-drive vehicles. One in four BMW cars sold around the world is equipped with xDrive, the sustained success of the BMW X models playing a pivotal role in this development. The BMW X3, BMW X5 and the BMW X6 models available in India feature the xDrive technology.The BMW xDrive is an intelligent all-wheel drive system that monitors the driving situation constantly and distributes drive power smoothly between the axles. BMW xDrive splits drive variably to the front and rear axles to suit the driving situation and the surface. In contrast to other manufacturers, who use all-wheel drive principally to make up for the shortfall in traction suffered by front-wheel-drive vehicles, BMW tunes its xDrive system to provide handling typical of rear-wheel drive.BMW is the pioneer in creating new vehicle segments. The entire Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) was created by BMW. The BMW X5 was the first all-wheel drive vehicle with off road capabilities that could be driven like a sports car. With the BMW X3, BMW picked up the pioneering baton once more and introduced the SAV concept into the midsize segment. With the BMW X6, we offered an entirely new type of car, a unique design concept and driving dynamics never seen before The world\’s first Sports Activity Coupé. We further redefined the Sports Activity Vehicle segment with recent launch of the BMW X1.The BMW X1 is the world\’s first Compact Sports Activity Vehicle with a young and modern character.

  • The MINI brand has seen quite a good response in India. How are the sales figure matching up to your expectations?

With the launch of MINI, the BMW Group debuted in the premium small car segment in India. The MINI range was launched in India at the 11th Auto Expo 2012. The MINI (MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S), MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper S Countryman were launched in India and can be ordered as CBU (completely built-up) units.The modern MINI combines an agile ˜Go-kart\’ handling as its most natural characteristic with cutting-edge efficiency and uncompromising premium quality. MINI has established itself around the world as a symbol of urban driving fun and an indispensable element in its driver\’s mobile lifestyle.In 2012, MINI India has established three exclusive outlets in the Indian market: Infinity Cars in Mumbai and Bird Automotive and Deutsche Motoren in Delhi (National Capital Region). In the start-up phase, BMW Group\’s main focus will be to concentrate on successfully establishing the MINI brand in India. At a later stage, the BMW Group will focus on further development of dealer network and higher sales volumes.

  • Lastly, which is the latest technology that BMW is working on- and when can we see it on roads?

The BMW Group is known as the leader in the field of innovation and technology. BMW EfficientDynamics and BMW ConnectedDrive are our two light house projects.BMW EfficientDynamics is the world\’s most innovative package for reducing fuel consumption and emissions while simultaneously increasing Sheer Driving Pleasure unique to BMW. BMW EfficientDynamics combines performance and efficiency with features such as Auto Start-Stop, ECO PRO mode, Brake-Energy Regeneration, Intelligent Lightweight Construction, Electronic Power Steering, 50:50 Weight Distribution and many other innovative technologies.BMW ConnectedDrive is BMW\’s second key area of innovation which is a summary of innovative products and technologies for connecting drivers, passengers and the vehicle with the outside world.  The range of BMW ConnectedDrive features like the BMW iDrive, BMW Navigation Professional and Head-up Display ensure maximum comfort, infotainment and safety all at the same time.

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