The second largest luxury car maker, BMW India, today announced a 3-5.5 per cent hike in prices across its models from April following the import duty hike on spare parts. As part of its 11th year anniversary of its manufacturing plant in Chennai, the company today also unveiled a skilling initiative across engineering colleges and other technical institutes like ITIs across the country under which it hopes to train "tens of thousands of students over the next few years".
"Our prices will go up by an average 3 per cent to a maximum of 5.5 per cent depending on the model. This is to reflect the import duty hike in the budget on CKDs," Vikram Pawah, the president of BMW Group India said here flanked by the company's brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar after announcing skilling initiative called Skill Next.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced an increment of custom duties on CKD (completely knocked down) imports from 10 per cent to 15 per cent in the 2018-19 budget.
The company, which has invested over Rs 1,250 crore in the country since 2007, completed 11 years of manufacturing operations here today, while its parent unit turned 100 three days ago.
The plant makes eight models and the ninth one, Mini Cooper Countryman, will be rolled out in June. Its eighth model, X3, was rolled out on the centenary celebrations three days ago. Its other locally-made models include the 3, 5 and 7 series apart from X1, X3 and X5 series.
In India, BMW cars range between Rs 30 lakh for a basic model to over Rs 2 crore due to high import duty, which runs up to 130 per cent.
Explaining the rationale for the CSR initiative, under which the company has also registered a foundation, Pawah said, "The next phase of growth in luxury car market will come from the small towns. And that means we need tens of hundreds of trained manpower in those markets. I hope the Skill Next will go a big way in meeting those requirements."
Pawah said around 100 engineering colleges and over 60 industrial training institutes have already signed up for the programme, apart from the Anna University.
"Going by the initial response, I am confident that we will be able to train tens of thousands students," Pawah said.
Skill Next will see the company, which is on a strong revival path after years of being down in the dumps in terms of volume sweep stake. There was a 25 per cent spike in volumes in 2017 at 9,800 units, delivering as many as 365 BMW engines and transmissions to engineering colleges across the states on a first come first served basis.
These engines were found to be unusable by the company and main insurer Bharti Axa General Insurance after the devastating Chennai floods in late 2016. Pawah said these particular series of engines made by Force Motors are already powering 50,000 cars in the country where it has cumulatively sold only 70,000 units in the past 11 years.