2019 to see highest number of launches in BMW India's history: Hans-Christian Baertels

Baertels, President (acting), BMW Group India, spoke to exchange4media about the future strategies for capturing the market, plans drafted for achieving the desired result in this quarter and more

by Shweta Raaj Singh
Published - Jun 10, 2019 8:04 AM Updated: Jun 10, 2019 8:04 AM
Dr Hans-Christian Baertels

BMW Group India, a 100% subsidiary group of BMW group, with BMW, MINI and Motorrad, has its sight set firmly on the premium sector of the Indian automobile market. Till date, BMW Group has invested Rs 1,250 crore into its subsidiaries in India. 

In a chat with exchange4media, Dr Hans-Christian Baertels, President (acting), BMW Group India, says 2019 will see the highest number of product launches ever in the history of BMW India. 

The newly launched BMW X5, a fourth generation product of the BMW X5, has continued the brand’s trailblazing success in the premium SAV segment. 

Baertels shared plans on how BMW India has initiated the goal of segmenting the premium market by optimizing the fit between the purchasing behaviour of consumers and the marketing mix to maximize sales in the segment. He pointed out that ‘Premium’ has gone beyond mainstream. 

To achieve further growth, Baertels said it was imperative to create a certain distinctiveness for the brand. “Indian consumers strongly associate the BMW brand with exclusively authentic luxury products, which are distinguished by their emotional appeal, uncompromising engineering, innovative technology and outstanding quality. India is a diverse market with different need states across consumer segments. It is imperative for a brand to understand these need states and cater to the ever-evolving needs of the consumer. At BMW, we not only understand our consumers, but plan our entire product line-up and communication strategy to addresses their evolving needs. With a robust portfolio comprising of sedans, Sports Activity Vehicles, Sports Activity Coupés and high-performance cars, our only aim is to deliver joy to our consumers,” Baertels said. 

BMW India is more about ‘being consistent’ rather than ‘being same’, he added. “We operate at the brand level for all our communication while giving it a personalised touch. For example, when we are selling a lifestyle product to a younger audience vs a BMW X5 to a seasoned customer, we are essentially coming from the same code while selling two completely different offerings to two completely different sets of customers,” he added.

To constantly stay in touch through premium brand engagements, Baertels said that to market an aspirational car brand in a country as diverse as India, it is critical to create memorable experiences and constantly stay in touch through premium brand engagements. 

“We are broadening the horizons by creating more exclusive touch-points to connect with our clientele across the country. To reach out to today’s tech-savvy generation, their device ecosystem is one of the best ways to be where they are. Mobile specific strategies and social media platforms remain some of the best entry points. At the retail level, BMW is enhancing the customer experience by digitizing the network. For those who connect with us online, we have set up an online shop where you can actually buy a car online and not just research about it.”

Throwing light on emotionally sensual marketing communication, Baertels said, “With BMW venturing further, we will grow to be more than a car manufacturer, we’ll be a partner to deliver emotions – we will be the creator of special moments. The same is reflected all through our communication across products and at the brand level. At BMW, all our communication is designed keeping the consumer at the centre of what we do to deliver unparalleled experiences.”

Future marketing strategy 

Since entering the Indian market in 2007, BMW India has put more than 70,000 cars on Indian roads. 

On BMW’s future strategy for capturing the market, Baertels said, “Luxury cars still form only 1-2 per cent of the total passenger vehicle segment in India. There is a tremendous headroom for growth. The Indian luxury market is still at a nascent stage but has immense potential with a population of over a billion. Along with the metropolitan centres, there is growth potential amongst the young achievers, predominantly from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.

The future strategy for India includes new directions, methodologies and prioritisation to become the most desirable premium automotive brand. How we gear up for the next 10 years will define our future. And that is what BMW Group India has been focusing on. ‘Strategy Number One – Next’ provides us the mandate to define the vision for BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad in India. And this is clearly making an impact.”

For Baertels, BMW India will be at the forefront of this growth. At the top of BMW India’s goals is introduction of new products or segments and increasing the overall market size. “We strongly believe that leading the growth of the segment is more important than anything else, even more important than just being a volume leader,” said Baertels.

When quizzed about what is next from BMW, in terms of future launches, Baertels said that 2019 will be the year of excitement with the highest number of product launches ever in the history of BMW India. The upcoming launch of BMW X7 will create a stir in the Indian luxury car industry, he said. “BMW X7 will soon hit the Indian markets and supersede everything you imagined about an SAV,” he added.

“BMW India started the year with the launch of the all-new BMW X4, a unique vehicle concept, combining the hallmark robustness of a BMW X model with the sporting elegance of a coupé. With the new BMW 530i M Sport, we introduced M Sport Package in a BMW 5 Series petrol variant for the first time in India. The BMW 620d Gran Turismo further diversified the engine portfolio of the first-ever BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo with a new entry-level two-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. The all-new BMW Z4 Roadster was our brand-new addition to BMW’s long history of engrossing roadsters. Recently, we launched the fourth generation BMW X5 that is set to continue its trailblazing success in the premium SAV segment. We will keep the momentum high throughout 2019 with many more launches,” Baertels said while signing off. 

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