Audi India to launch new models, ramp up network

January 17th, 2011 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Jan 17 (IANS) Buoyed by increasing sales in India, German luxury car maker Audi said Monday that it will launch new models, add more distribution points and invest in brand building in the country.”End January, we will be launching Audi A8L… and Audi A7 sometime in May/June and the next generation Audi A6 (all sedans) during the fourth quarter of 2011. These are going to be our volume models. We will also launch our finance product Audi Finance this year,” Audi India director Michael Perschke said.

Speaking to reporters here after launching the super premium two-seater sports car Audi R8 priced at Rs.1.35 crore, he said: “We will add around 5-6 products this year and hope to achieve a market share of 25 percent.”

He said the company was hoping to sell around 4,500 units in 2011, up from 3,003 units sold in 2010.

Audi India has decided to open dealerships in smaller cities like Surat, Ludhiana, Nagpur and Indore this year. The company currently has 12 dealerships.

Asked about the smaller number of luxury car sales in India despite the large potential client base, Perschke said: “Earlier, the average age of a luxury car buyer - first time buyer - was 55 years and now it has gone down. Absence of road network to drive the powerful cars was also a deterrent. Now, the situation is changing. The average age of an Audi car buyer is 35 years.”

He said the company assembles three models - A4, A6 (both sedans) and Audi Q5 sports utility vehicle (SUV) - at its facility at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

Conceding that Audi lagged behind Mercedes and BMW in terms of brand awareness, Perschke said: “The company will be spending on innovative marketing strategies. We are tying up strategic partnerships.”

According to him, the company will be taking around 120 of its customers, both current and prospective, to Dubai to witness the launch of A8L.

Perschke said Audi R8 will be an image building model for the company in India and not a volume model.

Weighing just 210 kg, the aluminium body Audi R8 is powered by a V10 quattro engine and accelerates from zero to 100 kmph in mere 3.9 seconds.

The model is available with a manual six speed transmission or ‘R tronic’ system which enables the driver to change gears in an instant via rocker switches on the steering wheel.

The model is completely hand-built with an extensive list of standard equipments and is customisable.

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