Mini Cooper, an icon that’s hard to miss is looking geared up for the Indian car market sometime in 2012. Andreas Schaaf, President of BMW in India has been very confident og getting the Mini Cooper to India in quick time, and this vision will be realized in 2012. Member of the board of management, BMW Group, said Harald Kruger had this to say at the 64th IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2011. “We are introducing the Mini in India to build our brand image.”
The Mini Cooper has a great history. It was previously launched and owned by British Leyland Motor Corporation way back in 1959. Later it was sold to Rover Group who sold it to British Aerospace who finally sold to BMW AG.
Though India is not really the market for such small premium hatchbacks, the company is quite content with initial estimated small sales figures. Premium hatchbacks like Volkswagen Beetel and Fiat 500 too have followed a similar approach though the latter has not seen much success in the Indian auto sector despite its lower price point. Lack of large scale advertising could to be the reason for its dismal sales figures but BMW India will not take any such chancesand are looking at setting up a separate distribution channel and exclusive dealerships for the Mini beginning with northern and western car markets in the country. Bookings will begin in 2012.
In regards to variants to be launched in India it’s the Mini Cooper One, a two-door hardtop hatchback, and the convertible that will be seen on Indian roads. This will be followed by the Clubman (estate) and crossover Countryman four-door vehicles. To be available us CBU’s, the Mini Cooper will attract a 102% import duty.
The BMW Mini will enjoy a formal launch at the Delhi Auto Expo 2012, and will have an entry level price point of Rs 23 lakhs. A versatile marquee, the Mini will work towards building the BMW brand image in India.
Mr. Kruger also added that “A lot of Indians who have studied abroad are familiar with the brand. They are our potential customers… they perhaps drove the Mini when they were abroad and will miss it when they are back in India. While Mini in the rest of the world is an ageless brand, in India, we think it will have a huge potential for the young people.” “It can be driven for an evening dinner out or to a sports event or as a city runabout.”