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BMW to launch 3-Series GT model in India early next year

NEW DELHI: Luxury carmaker BMW plans to launch an array of car models to take on its sprightlier rivals like Audi and Mercedes Benz and also enhance its annual production capacity to 14,000 vehicles with a fresh investment of.`210 crore, its top executive said.

BMW India will launch the all-new BMW 3 Series GT in India 2014 that will be locally produced. It will be the seventh car to roll our from its Chennai plant. "We are putting a new assembly line at our Chennai factory exclusively for our sedans that command a premium status in the Indian market. The all new 3 Series GT would roll out from this new line by next year for which additional capacity is being created by this year end," Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India, said.

BMW sells 14 models in India and, till last year, it was the market leader in the 
luxury carsegment in the country. It had outsold both its rivals last year but was impacted by the slowing Indian economy where demand for luxury cars has been tapering. To take on the aggressive Audi that is inching closer to a market leadership position, BMW is also considering its electric cars - BMW i3 & BMW i8 — for the Indian market. The BMW i3 currently retails at around 35,000 euros (.`29.5 lakh) in the overseas market and is a pure electric car targeting at megacity urban customers. The car that uses has lithium-ion battery offers a driving range of 130-160 km with an acceleration of 0-100 kmph in 7.2 seconds. While the second vehicle, BMW i8, is a plug-in hybrid with sports car features that would make its world premiere in 2014. "We have some exciting plans for the Indian market. Our electric cars are perfectly suitable for mega cities like Delhi and Mumbai that are grappling with problems of of pollution and congestion. We are closely scrutinizing the possibility of introducing these environmentfriendly i3 and i8 models to the Indian customers," Sahr said. The i8 carries a maximum driving range of 500 km on a combination of full fuel tank and with a fully charged battery. Utilising both power sources, the BMW i8 reaches the speed of 0-100 kmph in 4.5 seconds.

The company also plans to enhance its dealership network to reach newer customers targeting smaller cities and towns. It would take its dealer strength to 50 from the current 35 and start operations in relatively smaller markets like Gawahati, Patna, Dehradun and Agra. It is also setting up a training center for its dealers across India to improvise customer service and experience across India.