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German luxury auto manufacturer BMW has announced that they are studying the possibility of launching electric vehicles in India under their MINI brand. The company is planning a shift in its products with the aim of offering cleaner mobility.
According to Economic Times Auto, BMWs announcement come at time when Indian manufacturers are readying their own range of electric vehicles, and foreign manufacturers are bringing their range of electric offerings to the Indian markets.
Francois Roca, the Head of Mini in the Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and African regions said, "If the market is ready to welcome electric mobility, we will be there. We have a plant in Chennai, this helps us to have, let's say, a more approachable price tag or a different category of customer. We are studying the feasibility of its electric vehicles in India."
Mr Roca also said that the bringing electric offering was heavily dependent on the country's ability to build infrastructure. India has a long way to go in establishing charging infrastructure that is critical for mass-adoption of electric vehicles.
In related news, MINI plans its own shift in its offerings in the Indian markets. The company is planning to allocate 90 percent of its production towards petrol engines as compared to the 70 percent it was doing so far. The company says that the move is based on the reducing interest diesel engines are facing in the country.
MINI sold 700 units in India during 2018, which is a 40 per cent increase in sales volumes as compared to 2017. India is the second largest market for MINI, after Japan. The company has 10 dedicated outlets in India at the moment.
In an attempt to increase sales, MINI has been promoting themselves in markets where it does not have a store. The company has been touring these markets with mobile stores, an idea other manufacturers have implemented too, the latest being MG Motor India.
The company has visited 30 cities with its stores on wheels, however, there is no information if this tour has resulted in direct or indirect sales.
MINI plans to launch the all new Clubman in India during the first quarter of 2020, making the brands offerings at par with its global markets. Mr Roca said that this translates to the ability to buy a MINI in India that is offered globe over.
Thoughts About BMW Planning To Launch Electric Vehicles In India Under The Mini Brand
While this is an interesting thought, the infrastructure does not justify bringing premium electric vehicles to the Indian markets. While the government stands by its FAME II schemes, and does support a move to electric mobility, they seem to be doing nothing to offer any form of infrastructure to back up their support. In addition, the mentality of the Indian consumer is one that is not ready to move to electric mobility.