MINI expands market to India in 2011

Discussion in 'MINI News and Articles' started by Nathan, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
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    Munich: After rejecting the idea twice in the past, now we have learnt that it's going to be third time lucky for Mini in India. The BMW Group company had carried out two feasibility studies in the past, since 2006 - the outcome of both had resulted in India plans being shelved.

    Now the Indian market is showing massive growth in the automobile space. Its resilience to the 2008-9 global meltdown, has added to its sheen. So Mini has finally decided its time to take a second look at it its India agenda.

    And we have the details. The company will debut its brand in India with the help of parent BMW of course. A number of existing BMW dealers have been identified as suitable to take on the Mini business too. There won't be a massive network to begin with. Only a few of the select metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore are likely to get a single Mini dealership in 2011.

    Mini would first introduce the iconic Cooper hatch in two or three variants. These cars would be direct imports from the company's Cowley plant in Oxfordshire, UK. Following the introduction of its flagship cars, Mini will launch the Countryman variant which will be assembled locally at the BMW plant in Chennai. The Countryman is the first Mini to be assembled outside of the UK to begin with, as its being built in Graz, Austria by Magna Steyr under contract. The kits for the Countryman will be exported from that Magna plant to BMW's Chennai facility. This will give Mini pricing power, and the ability to get aggressive and rack up some volumes. So while the hatch will remain niche and expensive, the Countryman is likely at a sub twenty lakh rupee price-point.

    The Countryman is the larger, taller, higher version of the Mini. Not quite Mini then really. It's a special car though, as it maintains the true characteristics of everything that is Mini - in looks and quirky interiors, and yet brings in good drive dynamics and some off-roading ability - that any SUV demands. Can't really call it a true SUV, but it will be a crossover then.

    So this may spell bad news now for Volkswagen which is still dilly-dallying with its Tiguan small SUV, Skoda with its soon-to-launch Yeti or even the hulks like the Toyotas Fortuner. And what's more the Mini brand its high-end feel could also see the Countryman threaten some D segment sedans like the Honda Accord and Skoda Superb.

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    Ed Commentary - While its good to see MINI growing and moving into new markets this will make it a challenge for those that run forums. Being as MINI is currently not sold in the India market and that quite of spam originates from the region many of us that run sites have blocked all traffic from India, as well as other known spamming regions. The trick is going to be opening our door enough to allow for legitimate owners access while blocking the ne'er do wells.

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