Bmw Sales to Creep Once Again

By: Anthony Fontanelle

BMW Malaysia Sdn Bhd is confident of having another good year by selling more cars than it did in 2006. "We have started well in 2007, with sales growing 37% quarter on quarter to hit 535 units in the first quarter," managing director Wolfgang Schlimme announced. "We have been growing for the last four years. Overall sales growth since 2003, when we sold 2,176 vehicles, was about 60 percent."

In 2006, the automaker reported its best year ever. The company sold 3,472 vehicles consisting of 3,302 BMWs and 170 MINIs. "We are going in the right direction and setting our priorities in terms of model line-up, availability and pricing. These are the reasons we are different from others. This has led us to continue growing in the past few years against the trend in the auto industry," Schlimme said.

This year, the automaker has launched a multitude of promising new models - the 325i Sports, 3 Series Coupe, Z4 M Coupe, X3 and the new MINI. Schlimme said the pace would continue as the group strongly believed customers should have access to the very latest and best of BMW models as soon as right-hand drive versions became available. He added the new X5 will be launched soon.

Schlimme pointed out that BMW was also a pioneer in new technology after having launched an in-built global positioning system and night vision system for its cars. "A key decisive factor for our success here is our dealer network. At the end of the day, it is not our team in Cyberjaya but our service advisers, sales representatives and management of BMW dealers that provide first impressions and create long-lasting customer relationships for us. The biggest sales success for BMW is contributed by our dealers," he said.

BMW currently has thirteen dealerships in the country. Another outlet is expected to be opened by late this year in Damansara in the Klang Valley. "Our dealer network is one of our priorities in the day-to-day business. Our dealers are consistently upgrading their existing facilities, capacities and competence for customer convenience," Schlimme said.

To bolster the efficiency of the company, BMW supports its dealers by providing architectural consulting, workshop equipment consulting, communications and marketing and the availability of demo cars. "We are in the background, supporting and making the dealers' sales and after sales capabilities as strong, competent and credible as possible. This is how it should be," Schlimme stressed.

In the previous years, BMW and its partners had invested over RM250mil in the country. So far, there are three important regional facilities in the country. These facilities play an essential role in the success of BMW group's strategy for the region.

What's more, BMW intends to improve its image as a leader in car distribution in Malaysia. The company also has a parts distribution centre in Port of Tanjung Pelepas, a regional training centre and a group data centre that is responsible for the BMW air filter and other significant auto parts from the company.

"We are enlarging our training offerings at the centre, which services 14 markets. Our group data centre provides information technology structure support to BMW organisations globally. It also serves the group's worldwide network for specific competences, for example, in the global plant logistics system," Schlimme said.

The BMW group will also start offering customers a one-stop sales and financing resource, with the completion of its purchase of SimeLease (M) Sdn Bhd and SimeCredit (M) Sdn Bhd, its subsidiary. The companies, which have been renamed BMW Lease (M) Sdn Bhd and BMW Credit (M) Sdn Bhd, will provide innovative finance solutions to purchasers via the BMW global network.

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