Not easy doing business in India, says BMW India head
Premium carmakers are being "penalized" for introducing the latest technologies to India in the form of very high taxes, said Vikram Pawah, the President of BMW Group India, Australia, and New Zealand. Speaking exclusively to The Financial Express, Pawah said it is not easy doing business in India, adding that the government's 'AatmaNirbhar Bharat'(self-reliant India) initiative should not limit access to the latest technologies.
When asked about the ease of doing business in India, Pawah told the publication, "It's not really easy to do business in India." One of the reasons, Pawah said, was the AatmaNirbhar Bharat initiative. "It's a great initiative. It's about developing the economy. It's about 'Make in India,'" Pawah said, "but it shouldn't lead to shutting ourselves down to the latest technologies."
Pawah said, "[Premium carmakers] are being penalized for introducing latest technologies to India, in the form of very high taxes. There's tax in-equalization between luxury and mass-market cars." "If you correct that, you would enhance the auto industry's value, and that would mean more tax collection for the government," he said, adding that the price disparity between luxury and mass-market is wider in India.
Speaking about the impact of the lockdown, Pawah said that Indians are now focusing on personal mobility. People are also looking to spend more time with family and are planning road trips, he said. The lockdown has also caused people to become more aware of sustainability, he went on to say. "In the area of cars, it means more efficient engines."
Pawah attributed a rise in BMW's sales the past few years to a "clear strategy on products, on dealerships, on customers, and on correcting the perception about the total cost of ownership of luxury cars." He added, "Today, I must say that the maintenance cost of BMW petrol cars is as low as Re. 1/kilometer, and those of diesel cars Rs. 1.5/kilometer."
Meanwhile, BMW India on Thursday launched a new car, the 2 Series Gran Coupe, with an aim to attract younger customers with a penchant for luxury. "In addition to the X1, the 2 Series is now our main entry-level offering," Pawah said, describing the vehicle as a "made-in-India global car." The car is priced at Rs. 39.3 lakh onwards (ex-showroom).
When asked about plans to launch electric cars in India, Pawah said that while he would love to do so, they are waiting on India's policy framework and infrastructure to allow an "uninterrupted (driving) experience" for customers.