Sales of luxury cars in India zipped past the year-ago period as a low base effect of 2016 and new models kept up the momentum, according to annual sales data released by the local arms of BMW, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc. With a bevy of new models planned for the current year, volumes are expected to remain strong for all the companies.
Sales of such models — those which cost more than Rs 2 million in India — slowed over the past three years as a ban on the sale of diesel cars in Delhi in 2015 and the demonetisation of high-value banknotes in November 2016 hit demand. Cumulative sales of luxury cars contracted 4.2 per cent from a year earlier to 33,279 units, according to market researcher IHS Markit.
BMW Group India, second largest in the pecking order, said it delivered 9,800 cars during the year, up 25 per cent over the year-ago period.
“Last year was a challenging year for the automotive industry,” said Vikram Pawah, president, BMW Group India. The policy fluctuations, he pointed out, adversely affected stability and impacted consumer confidence. The company’s growth, he added, was led by sports activity vehicles (SAVs), including the BMW X1 and the BMW X5. “We are moving forward with a clear aim and our resolute strategy of ‘Power to Lead,” said Pawah.
Audi India, the third largest by volume, said it delivered 7,876 units in 2017, up two per cent over the last year. Rahil Ansari, head, Audi India, said the company plans to launch the new generation Q5 this month. With 10 model launches, Ansari termed called 2017 as the year of “Audi reloaded”.
Led by new, competitively priced models such as the Jaguar XE at Rs 3.58 million, and the XF and F-PACE, among others, JLR India too saw its sales advance by 49 per cent to 3,954 units. “We intend to sustain this fabulous momentum in 2018 with the launch of some exciting new products, the new Range Rover Velar being the first off the blocks in January 2018,” said Rohit Suri, president and managing director, JLR India Ltd.
Market leader Mercedes Benz India, which sold 11,869 units in the months to September, up 20 per cent over the last year, is expected to retain the pole position in the luxury car segment by a wide margin. The company will report annual sales next week.