Audi eyes top spot in Indian car market; lines up 10 new launches for 2017

New Delhi: German auto major Audi is gunning to regain over a period of time the top slot in Indian luxury vehicles segment which it had lost to rival Mercedes-Benz.

The company plans to launch ten products this year, including ‘a couple of completely new models’ as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance its position in the country.

“There has been a phase of consolidation (in India) and we are looking at a sustainable number one position here. Audi belongs there,” Audi India Head Rahil Ansari told.

When asked how soon the company looks to overtake Mercedes-Benz again, he declined to share a timeframe.

“We need to be number one again at some stage of time. It doesn’t have to be overnight but it can’t take till 2030 either. What is important is that it has to be sustainable business for all involved, including our dealer partners,” Ansari added.

In 2015 Audi lost its number one position in the Indian luxury car market to Mercedes-Benz. It had taken the top spot from another German rival BMW in 2013.

Audi has not shared its 2016 sales numbers in India. Mercedes-Benz sold 13,231 units in 2016, marginally down from 13,502 units in 2015. BMW on the other hand sold 7,861 units, up 14 per cent from 2015.

When asked about new product launches, Ansari said: “For 2017 there will be 10 new launches, out of which there will be a couple of products which haven’t been introduced in the Indian market before.”

Audi has already launched the diesel version of its best selling sedan A4 in India. It is also preparing for the new A3 sedan.

“While the volume models are important, we will also be launching those cars which can give a ‘Halo effect’ so that we can turn our car customers into fans,” Ansari said, hinting at the company’s plans to bring performance-oriented cars.

Going forward, he said, in order to achieve its goals Audi will focus on new products, more customer targeted activities such as referral programmes to keep its existing buyers within the ‘Audi family’ while also trying to convert potential new buyers.