The company discontinued several of its high-selling models in India and stopped selling diesel-engine vehicles from April this year when the country upgraded to the BS-VI emission norms, further impacting its sales.
On Friday, Audi launched the Q2 compact sport utility vehicle at a starting price of about Rs 35 lakh, which will be its most affordable vehicle in the country. This will be followed by at least six new vehicles over the coming 12 months as the company repopulates its portfolio in the country. This will include the e-tron electric vehicle.
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.
“We will continue to bring more models into the country both on the volume side and on the niche side,” said Balbir Singh Dhillion, 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.”
Audi will be importing the Q2 into the country rather than assembling it locally. The company has already received over 100 bookings for the vehicle.
Not just the response for the Q2, but the overall recovery in sales too was much better than anticipated as the country slowly opens up, Dhillon told ET.
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.