BMW sets up production plant in Chennai

Thursday, 29 March 2007, 05:00 Hrs
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Chengalpattu: Automobile giant BMW inaugurated its 20 million euros assembly plant here amid chanting of the "Gayatri Mantra" (Vedic hymns) and lighting of lamps. The plant is situated 40 km south of Chennai and was inaugurated Thursday at 12 noon.

Addressing the media here, Norbert Reithofer, chairman of BMW AG said, "India offers big opportunities for growth, particularly in the premium automobile segment. In more ways than one [the outskirts of] Chennai is the perfect location because we have found a skilled and dedicated workforce of 200 people."

The plant is built on 29,000 sq metres within Mahindra City with a capacity of 1,700 vehicles per annum. Three BMW models will be marketed in India. The lowest priced 3-Series vehicle will cost 2.6 million. The higher range can go up to 4.2 million.

Reithofer revealed that the company already has bookings for 200 vehicles. For the time being, only the seats of the cars are being manufactured in India. The rest of the parts are being imported.

Commenting on the possibilities of indigenisation, Reithofer revealed that for a start the doors of the cars would be manufactured in India. The company will not export its Indian products.

At present a 12-dealer network covers the main metros of Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. This network will be doubled before the end of 2007.

"Our goal is to seize all opportunities that arise for our three automotive brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce," Reithofer said.

He said that the company had sold 136,000 vehicles (comprising all the brands) and envisaged raising the retail volume of sales in Asia alone to 150,000 units by 2008. "On that count, for us 2007 is the 'Year of India'," Reithofer added.
Source: IANS
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