Audi India plans to address crucial product gaps in its product portfolio and add to its line-up of models that it assembles locally in the current year, company’s top official said. As part of the plan, the Volkswagen Group company is preparing to launch more than half a dozen new models as it seeks to capture a higher share in the luxury car market in India where rivals Mercedes and BMW have a head start.
“We will have models covering all segments including volume, sports and niche and cover most of the segments,” Balbir Singh Dhillon, head- Audi India, said at a roundtable interaction. On Tuesday, the local arm of the German carmaker launched the fifth generation of its flagship Audi A4.
Priced at Rs 42,34,000 (ex-showroom), Audi has been locally assembling the A4 since 2008, Dhillon said the company will launch more of such volume models to get neo rich buyers in its fold. Besides introducing the regular internal combustion engine (ICE) powered models, Audi will also launch electrified cars.
“With a well established petrol strategy in place, we are now geared to kick-off our EV strategy in India. The launch of Audi e-tron is on the cards and you will hear from us very shortly on its arrival,” he added.
With a only a handful of few models, India’s electric car segment has remained under-tapped so far for variety of reasons. But it is expected to see some action in the luxury segment in the current year. Last year, Mercedes launched EQC400, becoming the first in the segment to introduce an EV offering. The entry of Tesla later this year with its Model 3 is expected to add to the glitz.
Meanwhile, touching upon the broader sales trend in the luxury segment, Dhillon said, the demand in the segment, much like the broader car market has been improving sequentially and held up. “People thought the demand will taper off after the festivals but that is not the case, it’s continuing,” said Dhillon adding that December has been a record month for the company.
He expects both the company and the luxury segment to have a high double digit growth in 2021. It will be driven by a slew of new launches, improvement in sentiments and a low base of last year. Luxury car segment is estimated to have declined by 40 per cent in 2020. A total of 35000 cars were sold in 2019 as per industry estimates.
The segment account for less than 1.2 per cent of the overall automobile market in India and compares poorly with China where the share of segment is 13 per cent and US where such high end models account for 10 per cent share of the car market. A high taxation structure among other factors has limited the expansion of the segment and it has yet to cross 50,000-mark.