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BMW launches new X5 SUV, to roll out more models this year

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 16, 2019  | 22:53 IST

(Eds: Adding more details) Mumbai, May 16 (PTI) German car maker BMW launched the new generation X5 SUV in the domestic market Thursday and said its focus is on growing the luxury car segment in India, which currently stands at around 40,000 units. Buoyed by a healthy 13 per cent growth in sales at 11,105 units as against 9,800 units in 2017, the group plans to roll out some 11 models in the current year, of which it has already launched three so far, including the X5 SUV. "The high-end luxury car market in India is about 40,000 vehicles. From 2018 onward, we are focused on growing the size of this market in India. We strongly believe that the growth of the segment is more important than getting volumes," said Hans-Christian Baertels, acting president, BMW Group India. Stating that BMW was into "volume game," Baertels said, "We need the market to make it attractive for the customers to invest in the luxury car as such." Asked whether the company was looking at higher sales number this year, particularly after record sales in the March quarter, Baertels said "I don't know. The political environment in India is tricky, and it is very hard to perceive." The BMW official, however, added 2019 will be an "exciting" year for the company as it will be launching the highest number of products, including the X7 flagship SUV. Earlier, the car maker launched the new generation X5 SUV in India in two diesel variants at a starting price of Rs 72.9 lakh. The petrol variant of BMW X5 will be launched later this year, the company said. The car was launched by Baertels and legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar. The locally-produced BMW X5 is one of the best selling models for the car maker in the domestic market, and the latest version of the SUV will compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90, Range Rover Velar, Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7. "BMW established the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment with the launch of BMW X5 in 1999. The BMW X5 has been the best-selling car in this segment for many years and has become one of our most successful models. The all-new BMW X5 is bound to add another chapter to this success story," said Baertels. Sales of BMW cars in India surged 19 per cent to 2,822 units in the March 2019 quarter against the same period a year-ago. The MINI brand sold 160 units during the period, an increase of 18 per cent from the year ago period. Besides, BMW Motorrad, the group's premium luxury motorcycle arm, sold 597 bikes during the first quarter of 2019. "I saw (the car) the first time when I was in Europe, and once I got out of the airport, an X5 was parked for me," Tendulkar said. PTI IAS NRB AP ABM ABM

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