Issues like fuel price hike, inflation and high interest rates may have sucked out the momentum of growth in demand for automobiles in India but that has not stopped international luxury car makers from chasing the rich.
Luxury car companies have launched an average of one new car per week since the start of 2013 even as mass car producing companies continue to entice consumers with discount offers to move inventory.
While Germany's Audi has started the year with two new launches already, Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover has followed with a launch today. More such launches including supercars are expected to follow later in the year.
Audi India, the country second biggest luxury car maker, launched the new R8 sports car today for Rs 1.34 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). The V8 engine powered coupe generates peak power of 430hp.
A more expensive version of the R8, which is powered by an even more powerful V10 engine delivering 525hp of peak power, is priced at Rs 1.73 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). The company hopes that the launch will further strengthen its leadership position in the sports car segment.
The R8 launch of today was preceded by the launch of the new Audi Q5, a sport utility vehicle, earlier in the month.
Michael Perschke, head, Audi India, said, “2013 is a critical year for Audi in India and we will see the announcement of several initiatives on the product and network front. First month of 2013 already saw the launch of new Audi Q5 and I am confident that with the launch of this new Audi R8 we will further consolidate our leadership position in the super sports car segment in India”.
Audi carried a price hike of up to five% across the board from the start of the month. Rise in input cost, depreciating rupee and rise in fuel prices had forced the company to make the increase. However Audi believes that the hike will not have any impact on demand.
“We are presently the growth drivers of the luxury car market in India and I am confident that 2013 will be more rewarding than 2012, despite the price hike”, Perschke added. The German car maker exceed its own target last year selling 9,003 units, with a growth of 63%.
To better compete in the Indian market Tata Motors launched the locally assembled version of the Jaguar XF with a price tag of Rs 44.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). This has brought down the entry level price tag of a Jaguar from the earlier Rs 57.15 lakh thus making it the cheapest among the series.
The new Jaguar XF is powered by a 2.2 litre engine while the other two models which are imported into India as a fully built unit are powered bigger and more powerful engines.
India's largest luxury car maker BMW does not want to stay behind. It is preparing to launch the the new BMW X1, its most affordable SUV, followed by the new BMW 7 Series later in the year . The company will also launch the compact BMW 1 Series during the year will will prove to be the most affordable in its line-up.
Italian super car maker Lamborghini is also eager to launch its Aventador Roadster in India which the company had showcased at the Los Angeles Motor Show last year. The open top super car is powered by a massive 6.5 litre V12 engine that pumps out 700hp of peak power.
The company plans to unveil the model in Mumbai this Friday and will subsequently launch in commercially later.