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BMW cars being sold from a tent? Capital, Germany’s oldest business publication, had commissioned me in September to shoot photographs for a story on German companies adapting innovative marketing strategies in India. When the brief came in, I found among other things, a BMW showroom in a tent in Rajkot, Gujarat. I went there imagining a typical red and blue patterned desi shamiana with people standing in a queue to buy cars.

What I found was quite the opposite. The mobile showroom was a swanky tent on the lawns of a hotel, complete with wooden flooring, air-conditioning and uniformed waiters offering water to potential customers. Rajkot, I was told, is an affluent town with a taste for expensive cars but the bosses at BMW thought it wasn’t a bright idea to open a showroom in Rajkot when there is one 220km away in Ahmedabad. The mobile showroom comes to Rajkot at fixed intervals, usually for a period of fifteen days and once a booking is made, cars are brought in from Ahmedabad for delivery.

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