Sime Darby Motors (SDM), a division of the Sime Darby Group, has opened the largest BMW retail centre in China. Located in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province on the western side of the country, the new BMW Centre is a 4S facility, offering sales, after-sales service, spare parts and supporting systems. It is operated by Chengdu Bow Yue Vehicle Sales Co. Ltd. which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SDM.
The facility operated by Chengdu Bow Ye (one part of the name means ‘Joy’ which is quite appropriate given that BMW’s global campaign is about ‘Joy’ but the company’s name was established well before the campaign) has actually been in operation since February this year but was given a grand official opening last night. Guests at the event included Sime Darby Chairman Tun Musa Hitam and the Chairman of SDM, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin, and Dato Lawrence Lee, MD of SDM. Also present were senior party officials and senior management of SDM’s China operations.
The tenth BMW 4S centre established by SDM in China is one of three BMW outlets in Chengdu and sells 150 – 200 units a month (total BMW + MINI sales in China for the first six months of 2011 have been around 120,000 units). Built at a cost of RMB126 million (about RM60 million), it conforms to the global Corporate Identity requirements of BMW. The 2-level showroom can display up to 28 vehicles and there is also a separate area for MINI products.
|All service and repair equipment, including the spraypaint booths, is approved by BMW
||Wide spiral ramp connecting different levels can accommodate two 7-Series cars side by side
On upper levels, connected by a wide spiral ramp, there are service areas with 40 work bays equipped with the latest service tools and diagnostic equipment. Anticipating a larger owner base in coming years, the service area can be expanded to incorporate up to 90 work bays.
The facility also has an M Lounge and offers BMW Premium Selection vehicles for those who prefer to consider a used BMW. The units in the Premium Selection (also available at BMW dealers in Malaysia) typically undergo a thorough inspection and come with a limited warranty; they are said to be the best pre-owned BMWs available.
While the focus is on selling new vehicles, there is optimism that the BMW Premium Selection will eventually catch on as well as the vehicles in the market grows, Dato’ Lawrence Lee told MotorTrader. “Customers will be able to choose whether they would like a brand new BMW or a pre-owned one which has been inspected in accordance with BMW’s strict standards.”
In China, BMW has also come up with a ‘5S’ concept for its facilities, the fifth ‘S’ relating to sustainability. This is more of a corporate aspect and encompasses the dealer’s contribution to the local economy and also its activities in environment protection. Certification by dealers is voluntary and Chengdu Bow Yue intends to apply for ‘5S’ status in due course.
|Chengdu Bow Yue sells 150 – 200 BMW and MINI vehicles a month and sales have grown 40% in 4 months
“The opening of this new 4S Centre reflects our bullishness on China’s luxury automobile market,” said Dato’ Lee, adding that the volume of luxury cars sold in Chengdu accounts for almost 3% of the luxury automobile market in China which was more than 668,000 units last year (5% of the Total Industry Volume in 2010).
“We believe this segment will grow by 20% to 30% a year and will account for 8% of the overall sedan market this year. With BMW’s leading position in the market, it is therefore timely for Sime Darby Motors to expand its presence further,” he said. He revealed that the new outlet in Chengdu is the last one in an expansion plan that was initiated some years ago. There is now a new phase of expansion being planned to bring further growth of the network.
SDM’s BMW business in China is substantial and its dealership network consists of 10 4S Centres, 2 service centres and one showroom. Most of the outlets, with the exception of the one in Chengdu, are in southern China, close to Hong Kong where it has been active in the motor business since the 1970s.
“While we expect the operating landscape here to be more competitive moving forward, we will continue to leverage on the mutual trust and respect between Sime Darby Motors and BMW to enhance our presence further in China. If we maintain our present momentum, we are confident of delivering even greater results for the Sime Darby Group,” said Dato’ Lee.
|BMW produces a long-wheelbase version of the 5-Series only for China,
an indication of the importance of that market which is now the world’s largest
|Scenes from the official opening last night which was attended by Sime Darby’s Chairman, Tun Musa Hitam, and SDM’s Chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin,and other senior management executives
For more information on BMW and MINI products and services in Malaysia, visit www.bmw.com.my
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