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BMW Launches Mini Cooper in Fast-Growing India Market

The Mini joins GM, Ford, Toyota to compete in an expanding market.

German carmaker BMW on April 5 launched its iconic Mini Cooper in India, the latest luxury auto maker to expand in one of the world's fastest-growing car markets.

BMW (IW 1000/37) established a presence in the country in 2006 and has since seen steady growth in sales in India where growing affluence is producing a new upper class with expensive tastes.

"With the launch of the Mini, we have brought the world's most exciting premium small car brand to India," said BMW India president Andreas Schaaf.

Some 100 Mini Coopers have already been ordered in India with deliveries to start in May, Schaaf said.

The ex-showroom price per vehicle is between $50,000 to $71,000.

Despite the country's slowing economy and badly potholed roads, India's luxury car market is booming, analysts say.

Luxury carmakers including Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Bentley, Jaguar-Land Rover and Porsche have all set up dealerships in India and report sales are doing well despite massive import duties.

The Indian market overall is largely dominated by much cheaper small cars, led by Japanese-controlled Maruti Suzuki.

Other foreign firms such as General Motors (IW 500/5) , Ford (IW 500/6) , Toyota (IW 1000/5) and Hyundai (IW 1000/27) have also established strong footholds in the country of 1.2 billion people.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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