Mangalore is one of the fastest growing non-metro cities in South India and will play an important role in BMW’s market offensive in India, according to Philipp von Sahr who heads the group's Indian unit.

He spoke to The Hindu after opening a new BMW dealership in Mangalore.

Navnit Group chief Navnit Kachalia said the outlet  expected to sell “in double digit” each month.

Of the 1.06m cars BMW sold last year, 9,371 were delivered in India, mostly in Delhi and Mumbai though the company had recently focused on Hyderabad and Bangalore, Sahr said.

By the end of 2014, BMW India plans to have 50 sales outlets in major metropolitan centres and emerging markets.

In an attempt to gauge the market for luxury cars in the 'non-metros' of India, BMW had set up mobile showrooms.

The aim was to learn more about the city and to see if there was potential for luxury cars, Sahr said, adding it helped reduce property costs.

The aim was to gauge the market and, if there was a good response to the mobile showroom, a dealership was set up which built customer confidence.

This three month old strategy has so far been tried only in India. In Dehradun, five cars were sold within hours at the mobile showroom and the response at the company’s other six mobile showrooms in India had “been similar”, according to BMW India spokesmand Abhay Dange.

The company’s Chennai assembly plant builds the 3 and 5 Series plus X1 with petrol and diesel engines and has capacity of 11,000 units a year. It will add the 1 and 7 Series next year, The Hindu noted.