MUMBAI: Luxury carmaker BMW India has seen its volume slips 11 per cent to 7,049 units in the nine-month to September as against a steeper 20 per cent slump in the market volume, hemmed in by the deepening gloom in the auto sector and the overall economy.
But the German automotive major is "very optimistic" about the days ahead describing the present uncertainty as short-term and that they are very positive about India in the long-term as "they are here for the long haul".
The second-largest luxury carmaker means business is clear from the fact that it is adding 30 more sales and service points in the country by March, taking its total touchpoints to 100. Just 18 months ago, it had just 55 outlets.
For the ninth consecutive month, auto volumes slumped in August with passenger vehicles marking the highest decline of 31.57 per cent to 1,96,524 units.
Of this car sales recorded the steepest fall of 41 per cent at 1,15,957 in the month, according to the Siam data. Cumulative September numbers are not yet announced by the industry lobby.
The auto sector is fighting its worst crisis in at least two decades were driven by the general demand slump, accentuated by the slew of regulatory changes in terms of emissions and fuels coupled with a massive spike in insurance cost as well as registration fees, forcing customers to adopt a wait and watch till the dust settles down from April next.
"We have seen our volume falling 11 per cent to 7,049 units year-to-date. But this is against the luxury market shrinking a higher 20 per cent. BMW volume stood at 6,589 units, down 11.2 per cent, while Mini sold 6.3 per cent lower units at 460 units than the year-ago period," Rudratej Singh, the newly-appointed president and chief executive of BMW Group India, told PTI in an interview here on Thursday.
However, its two-wheeler brand BMW Motorrad sales zoomed 45 per cent to 1,472 units during this period, he said but adding the numbers are not strictly comparable on an annualised basis.
Singh attributed to the better than the market numbers to "the increase in their volume in each of the segment it is present in," but without sharing the segmental numbers.
However, he said the volumes came from both the entry segment led by the 310s and the GS Series, while the premium segment was driven by the M and the 7 Series.
During the first nine months of 2018, the company had made a good comeback selling 7,920 units, closing the gap with its immediate rival Mercedes-Benz.
On the other hand, the market leader since 2014, Mercedes Benz saw its volumes falling at a steeper 16 percent during the January-September period of 2019 at 9,915 units.
JLR and Audi--have not yet announced their numbers. Merc volume was boosted by a single-day sale of 200 units on Dussehra-Navratra, of which as much as 174 were delivered in Mumbai alone.
For the full year of 2018, the BMW Group had achieved its highest-ever volume crossing the 11,000 units mark, adding 11,105 new customers of BMW and Mini, up 13 per cent from 9,800 units in 2017.
Against this, Mercedes-Benz volume grew at a tepid 1.4 percent in 2018 at 15,538 units. Singh, who spent most of his professional life in the FMCG space with HUL and Unilever entered the auto space only in 2015 with Royal Enfield, joined BMW on August 1.