BMW ready to cruise to number one in 2011

Friday, 29 April 2011 02:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis

Luxury car manufacturer BMW is looking at entering into an aggressive development plan to up their status to attain segment leadership from the current position as second in the market.

Boasting of the latest model line up out of all premium brands operating in Sri Lanka, BMW on average has a 100 car market for any model but hopes to increase this by three fold by the end of the year. Driving on an increasing demand for vehicles which offers best of both worlds — performance and comfort, the company is confident that the year will see the realisation of their market targets.

Director of Prestige Automobiles (Pvt) Ltd, official local representatives for BMW International Gehan Siribaddana talking to Daily FT stated that the plans for the year outlines three new models entering the local market starting with the top selling Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) BMW X3 this week, the BMW 6 series sports convertible in September/October period and a BMW Z4, a two seater sports car known as the ‘cracker of sports two seater’ within the course of the year.

The vehicles hit the local market after a delay of one year which he attributed to the technical efforts of transforming the left hand drivers to right hand drivers, but would ensure that latest designs are available on customer demand. “In 2012 we hope to bring in two new models at least,” Siribaddana said, “last year too we introduced three new models to the market which was a huge success.” In 2010, BMW launched the 5 series, the 7 series and BMW X1 to the local market.

Siribaddana stated that the demand for luxury vehicles were very slow and at a point stagnant in the market for a very long time until the introduction of tax revisions in June last year. The demand has started building up and the company is now doing much better than expected. “Our goal definitely is to become the leader in the segment within the year and already the progress we have made is tremendous.” The new and disappointing duty structure introduced by the state on Monday will not pinch the company’s dreams, he assured stating that the duty will be on vehicles of 1000cc-1600cc whereas BMW’s are 2000cc onwards. “There will be no impact on our sales due to the new scheme.”

Prestige, on their part will conduct a series of upgrading and revamping to support the growth and to prepare itself to take on the market leadership soon. Outlining the plans for the year, Siribaddana stated that there will be upgrading of service facilities and showrooms. “We will however not only concentrate on the infrastructural development but also on good and skilled human resources to meet the challenges and demands of present times.” He added, “We will be on top of the game as soon as possible.”

The first model launch for the year, BMW X3 is said to add a new dimension to the pleasure of driving with its agility and efficiency which outnumbers the previous designs. Hailed as ‘off-roader of the year; by readers of Germany’s off road magazine in the ‘SUV’ category just a week after its official launch, the new model is sure to be a hit in the local market, he said. With a body design that conveys urban elegance and versatile agility the four wheel drive technology optimises traction and is ready to handle all bends. Featuring complete redeveloped suspension technology with a combination of double-joint spring-strut axle in front and a five-link rear axle the SUV is built for luxurious comfort and excellent performance.

Pix by Upul Abayasekara