‘India will be resilient and stand tall amidst fears of a global recession’: Vikram Pawah
India’s luxury car market which is poised to grow by 40% in CY2022 is likely to see its momentum being sustained next year despite weaking economic circumstances in the West, says Vikram Pawah, BMW Group India’s president and CEO.
India’s luxury car market is back on its feet and how. Following the Covid pandemic, there has been a marked shift in consumer perception in this vehicle segment which is seeing an increasing number of first-time buyers, who are now practicing the ‘Live life in the moment’ mantra, come into its fold.
For BMW Group India, the German luxury car marque is poised to register a 40% year-on-year growth in CY2022. Along with the smart market revival after the Covid-induced loss of sales in 2020, India’s strong macroeconomics in the current global environment of volatility gives industry leaders confidence about the growth being sustainable.
“We saw a very strong recovery after Covid in CY2021.In CY2022, we are going to replicate that growth. We will close this calendar as the best-ever year in the history of the BMW Group in India. Moreover, this growth is also looking like something that is sustainable as well,” Vikram Pawah, president and CEO, BMW Group India, told Autocar Professional.
Acknowledging the fears of recession looming large in the US and European markets, Pawah said that the current prognosis indicates towards the likelihood of India being relatively immune to what is happening around the world. “India has a better chance of standing tall in this crisis, and we will sail through it much better.”
“We do not have an energy crisis and inflation in India is not that high as compared to other countries which have registered a significant jump, for instance, from 1% to 7%, compared to 5% to 7% in India. So, comparatively, inflation in India is not dramatically high,” he said.
“Furthermore, while the interest rates have been going up across the world, including India, especially in the last couple of months, we must remember that India has always been a high interest-rate society. We used to be in double digits,” added Pawah.
Showing his optimism stemming from these robust macro aspects of the Indian economy, Pawah said that he continues to remain bullish about India and the luxury car market’s growth next year. “Despite all that is happening around the world, India will be very resilient, stand alone and stand tall in this one,” he said.
26 new products in CY2022, eyeing 10% EV sales in CY2023
BMW launched 26 new products in CY2022 in India and saw its customer base expand with India-specific models like the right-hand-drive version of the 3 Series Gran Limousine, which played a crucial role in bringing new customers to the BMW territory.
Alongside, models like the X1 crossover, as well as the 6 Series GT were some of its top-selling offerings in the ongoing calendar. “Covid has made people realise not to wait for things but start living their lives in the moment. It has also enabled people to take a pause and be with their families and spend more time with them. In India, we always had the money, especially in our customer group, who love spending on the latest and the greatest in the world. And this made us launch our products consistently since 2021,” pointed out Pawah.
The company also launched the all-electric i4 sedan and the Mini Cooper SE (all-electric hatchback), taking its EV portfolio in India to three models with the flagship iX crossover sitting at the top. Though the EV market is quite nascent at this stage, BMW says people in India are starting to find value in these products that offer an elevated driving experience at a lower ownership cost.
“We are witnessing tremendous demand for the three EV models that we have on offer right now. While there is a lot of waiting on the iX, the i4 is sold out until the end of next year. We are optimistic that this demand for EVs will continue and we expect around 10 percent of our sales to come from EVs in CY2023,” he signed off on a confident note.
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