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BMW India races to new peak in record year for luxury car sales

January 12, 2024 16:28 IST

BMW Group India recorded its highest annual sales on the back of strong demand for its top-end ICE (internal combustion engine) and electric vehicles (EVs).

The German luxury automaker on Thursday announced that its domestic car sales jumped 18 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) to 14,172 units in calendar year 2023 (CY23).

This mirrored a trend in the luxury space, with its peers also reporting record numbers.

Market leader Mercedes-Benz sold 17,408 units in CY23, up 10 per cent Y-o-Y, while Audi India’s sales jumped 89 per cent Y-o-Y to 7,931 units.


Amid talks of EV giant Tesla seeking duty cuts for a likely India entry, BMW Group India president Vikram Pawah said there shouldn’t be preferential treatment for any particular company.

“There has to be a level playing field for all — whether for the new entrant or the company that has been in the market for two decades.”

The maker of BMW X1 and BMW 7 Series plans to launch 13 new models of cars and six motorcycles in 2024, after its two-wheeler sales jumped 20 per cent Y-o-Y to 8,768 units in 2023.

Pawah said he expected the upcoming interim Budget to “keep the policies stable and consistent”.

“As long as there are no surprises, we are happy with that because whatever the government is doing right now is fantastic.

"We are seeing that electric mobility is catching up.

"Those policies should remain stable,” he said.

The number of vehicles per 1,000 persons in India is very low and the technology available is not the latest, Pawah said.

“Our ask from the government is that if you want faster adoption of new technologies, and then the localisation of it, there has to be some rationalisation of the duty structure.”

Currently, 60-100 per cent customs duty is levied on cars imported as completely built units.

The figure differs based on the engine size and whether the vehicle’s cost, insurance and freight value is above or below $40,000.

Charging up

BMW Group India sold the highest number of EVs in the luxury car market for the second consecutive year in 2023.

“We sold 1,474 EVs, recording a 325 per cent Y-o-Y growth in 2023,” Pawah noted.

Along with EVs, the company is also seeing strong growth in the high-end luxury segment of its portfolio, he added. BMW currently sells 24 models of cars and 21 two-wheelers in India.

The company also added 50 corporate clients, those that buy BMW cars, in 2023, which propelled the German company's corporate sales by 56 per cent Y-o-Y in 2023.

Pawah said supply chain disruptions due to multiple geopolitical challenges have become a norm for the automobile industry and the company had learnt to adapt itself to such issues.

"This is why you see our record growth in 2023," he pointed out.

The world is grappling with multiple global issues with the latest being attacks on ships passing through the Red Sea amid Israel's military action in Gaza.

Talking about BMW India's plans to launch a plug-in hybrid car — the company currently sells only one model — Pawah said that customers currently received no tax benefits if they bought hybrid cars.

"If the situation (regarding taxation) changes, we will consider bringing hybrid vehicles to India from our extensive global portfolio," Pawah said.

Deepak Patel
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