Monday, February 15, 2010
Peter Kronschnabl, President, BMW India
An Interview with Peter Kronschnabl, President, BMW India
Mr Peter Kronschnabl, President BMW India has been the face of BMW in India and has led them to the Numero Uno position in the luxury car segment in just three years, overtaking Mercedes which had been firmly entrenched as the leader in the Indian market. Here we quiz Mr. Kronschnabl on various issues such as the potential of the Indian luxury car market, the promotion strategy of BMW India & its brand positioning.
Markathon: What is the perception of BMW about the luxury appeal of India? What is the potential of luxury car market in the country?
Mr. Kronschnabl: In absolute terms, India cannot compete with other high-volume single markets yet. But the future belongs to India. If you want to benefit from the dynamics of the Indian market later, you need to act today. This is what we did. Our commitment to India was among the strategic decisions that had to be taken right away. According to our approach “Production follows the Market”, we took a bold step in our Asia strategy in 2007. We established the BMW India Headquarters in Gurgaon (NCR), a Central Parts Warehouse in Mumbai and the BMW Plant Chennai in Tamil Nadu. In medium term, BMW India has employed around 200 people; up to 600 additional jobs have been created in the dealer and service network.
2007, 2008 and 2009 were demanding years for BMW India and, at the same time, the most successful market entry for BMW in any country recently. Various activities initiated during this period have provided BMW India with a solid basis and developed a strong foundation. We thus secured an important option for the future growth of BMW Group. We made great strides in implementing our strategy, and this gave us a significant competitive edge that provided us with a clearly formulated vision. Our goals were clear, and we had to be consistent to realize them. Our business activities are, and will remain, focused on the long term. The main trends that are relevant to our business - such as the demand for mobility and the desire for differentiation - will remain unchanged.
Markathon: Where does BMW feats in the consumer psyche and what is the kind of brand attitude it has developed?
Mr. Kronschnabl: BMW has grown over years and remains as a symbol for dynamic and forward striving people. BMW is dynamic, challenging and cultured with the mission to deliver pleasure – Sheer Driving Pleasure. At the heart of the BMW brand is the desire to spread joy. This is a promise we make to our customers, and we aim to deliver on this promise every time the customers come in contact with BMW. Our understanding of joy has multiple dimensions: joie de vivre.
Joy is the “heart” and the driving force behind BMW. On the back of this three-letter word, we built a company, independent of everyone, accountable to no one but the driver. We do not build cars. We are the creators of emotions. We are the guardians of ecstasy, the thrills and chills, the laughs and smiles and all the words that can’t be found in a dictionary. No car company can rival our history, replicate our passion or see our vision. Innovation is our backbone, but Joy is our heart. We will not stray from our three-letter purpose. We will nurture it. We will make Joy smarter.
Markathon: BMW has become the numero uno luxury car maker in India overtaking Mercedes. Can you throw some light on the promotion strategy of BMW in India?
Mr. Kronschnabl: Even though the last few years were very challenging, the main trends that are relevant to our business - such as the demand for mobility and the desire for differentiation will remain unchanged. In 2010 everything we do, we do with conviction. We have the right ideas, as well as the entrepreneurial courage to make those ideas a reality. This has been our duty and our mandate since day one. In 2010 we expand the pillars of our India strategy by embarking on an aggressive product offensive and rapid market expansion.
Markathon: You are known for aggressive approach which turned around BMW’s portfolio in India. What’s the take on your leadership style?
Mr. Kronschnabl: Today, I am proud to announce that BMW India is the number one in the luxury car segment in India and portrays a symbol for dynamic and forward striving people. 2009 has not been an easy year for the automotive industry – and that applies equally to BMW India. Who would have thought at the start of the year that we would see so much turmoil in the auto industry within a matter of months? Consumers were naturally concerned – and their lack of confidence reflected in reluctance to buy new vehicles.
BMW India was faced with challenges no less than any other automobile manufacturer and was confronted with strong pressure from the beginning of the year. Seen in this light, a distinctive course defines not only what you do and how you do it, but also what you do not do. If you concentrate on your strengths and anticipate the challenges of the market, novel solutions can be found. The difference is decisive. It is the difference between “being pushed” and “making your own way”, between imitating and pioneering, between quick results due to short-term actions and the lasting success generated by your own strength.
We decided to stand our ground in a fiercely competitive environment with new ideas and the strength to promote our new products. We were prepared to meet the challenges head on to ensure our company’s success. These qualities enabled us to weather effectively such stormy conditions and continue to invest in our future. We were able to anticipate trends and be prepared for the future and that gave us an edge.
Despite all challenges, BMW India delivered strong operating performance in 2009. With a carefully planned and successfully executed market entry strategy, and consistent sales performance, BMW India has achieved market leadership in the luxury car segment in India.