17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

BMW to manufacture MINI Countryman in Chennai

German automaker BMW is to begin building its iconic Mini in India.

The company's Mini Countryman mini-SUV will begin assembly at the BMW plant in Chennai next month with the first models in showrooms by the end of the year.

The Countryman, which is currently manufactured in BMW plants in the UK and Austria, will become India's first locally-manufactured premium small car, the fastest growing segment in the country's booming auto sector.

Local manufacture also allows BMW to offer the cars at a more competitive price; imported cars are hit with 100% duties while locally manufactured automobiles are taxed at 30%.

According to the company, the Chennai-manufactured MINI will fulfil the same quality standards that apply to BMW Group models worldwide. BMW also expects local production of MINI could improve its demand in India.

“It is a very good product for Indian road condition, with high ground clearance.  It is also a car in which five persons can travel comfortably”, a company official said.

BMW has operated its own sales company in India since 2007, and began selling the Mini in the country in 2012.
It sold just over 300 Minis in the first year.

While car ownership remains at just 1.5 cars per 100 people, India is one of the world's fastest growing car markets in the world.

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