The company kicked off the festive season with a new entry-level SUV Q2 (launched at Rs 35 lakh-50 lakh) aimed at first time luxury car buyers. It will be followed by the Q3, Q5, and Q7 with BS-VI compliant engines and the e-tron electric SUV over the next one year.
“We will continue to bring more models into the country both on the volume side and on the niche side,” said Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi India. “We want to address not only our existing customers but also a lot of first time buyers who want to upgrade to the luxury segment. With Q2 we are going to address a lot of prospective buyers which we couldn’t address till now.”
SUVs already account for 46% of the total sales for Audi in India. With the introduction of the new generation Q3, Q5 and Q7, it expects the share of SUVs to move up to 60% in the coming years. That is not to say that sedans and top-of-the-line vehicles are not part of the focus. The new A4 will the hit the roads in the first quarter of 2021.
Presently, Audi sells only six different models in the country including the Q2, as per its website. In comparison, rivals Mercedes Benz and BMW have over 20 models each, while Jaguar Land Rover has over a dozen models on offer.
The company had discontinued several of its high-selling models in India from April this year when the country upgraded to the BS-VI emission norms. The replenishment of its portfolio will help Audi compete better against its German rivals in the coming years.
As the country slowly opens up, the overall recovery in sales has been much better than anticipated, Dhillon told ET.
Audi will be importing the Q2 into the country rather than assembling it locally. It has already received over 100 bookings for the vehicle.
“With Q2 they are trying to bring an entry-level luxury vehicle competing with BMW X1 and to-be-launched Mercedes GLA and Volvo XC40. The expectations for Q2 sales in 2021 are approximately 500 units and 140 for the remaining months of 2020,” said Ravi Bhatia, president of Jato Dynamics, an automotive business intelligence firm.
However, with the luxury car market estimated to decline by 40% this year due to the economic impact of the pandemic, Audi’s sales are expected to dip below 3,000 units – less than it sold in 2010.
Audi had become the largest luxury-car maker in India in 2013. However, the company’s sales peaked at 11,192 units a year in 2015 before declining to just 4,594 units in 2019. Meanwhile, rivals Mercedes Benz and BMW sold 13,786 and 9,000 cars last year in India.