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      12-04-2010, 10:26 PM   #1

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BMW to expand assembly plant in India

NEW DELHI: German luxury carmaker BMW Group will expand its capacity for the second time in less than a year as demand for luxury cars is rising propelled by increasing purchasing power.

BMW Group plans to ramp up its capacity to 8,000 units per year at its Chennai plant by early 2011 from the current 3,000 units. The expansion is part of the proposed Rs 180-crore investment plan in India by 2012.

“Buoyant demand for luxury cars has forced us to devise our strategy on new launches and a combination of locally assembled and imported cars and SUV’s would be launched in India in 2011-12,” said Andreas Schaaf, president of BMW India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW Group. Major part of the capacity expansion would be utilised for rolling out its new compact sport utility vehicle, the X1, that would be launched in January next year.

The luxury car market grew 40% to 9,959 units in April-October period this year, according to data compiled by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Businessmen in India’s smaller cities are buying luxury cars. In October this year, a group of 150 local businessmen decided to buy a Mercedes-Benz each in a single day in Aurangabad.

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