A journalist for 18 years, I have been writing on business with special focus on automobiles, commodities and management. Corporate stories are my forte but that has not restricted me from writing on diverse subjects such as sports (especially Formula 1), films, music and so on...
Sachin Tendulkar today tried his hand at something very different: He assembled a BMW 520d model at the German luxury car maker’s facility near Chennai. In the second assembly line’s bedding area, he married the car body with its engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. “I have always dreamed of owning and driving a BMW car but never thought will visit the plant and see how the cars are made,” Tendulkar said. The car he helped assemble will become a part of the Sachin Special Edition cars that will be launched. Dressed in a BMW factory uniform, he worked with a small group of engineers to perform the operation that lasted a few minutes.
The occasion marked BMW reaching 50 percent localisation levels in India. The company had begun its operation in its 47-acre facility at the Mahindra World City in March 2007. Its two assembly lines can produce 14,000 cars (across 8 different models) a year. Attaining 50 percent localisation will help BMW create higher value addition and optimise cost, said Robert Frittrang, managing director of the company’s Chennai plant. The parts that are sourced locally include engines and transmission, axles, door panels, wiring harness, exhaust systems, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and seats.
Philipp von Sahr, president, BMW India said the company’s future belongs in India: “If you want to benefit from the dynamic Indian market, you need to invest now.” BMW has invested 69 million euros (Rs 490 crore) in its Indian operations. He also said the car maker will launch 15 new products in the months to come. “We will continue to invest in India in the years to come,” he added.