Globally, German luxury carmaker Audi has announced that 2026 onwards it will develop only electric cars, and 2034 onwards it will sell only electric cars, discontinuing sales of petrol/ diesel cars by the end of 2033.
In keeping with that goal, local arm Audi India said on Thursday that it is targeting 15% sales in the country to come from electric cars by 2025. “To meet this target, we will have enough electric car models on offer,” Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi India, told FE.
On Thursday, the carmaker launched three variants of its electric car across two models: the e-tron 50 (Rs 99.99 lakh), the e-tron 55 (Rs 1.16 crore) and the e-tron Sportback 55 (Rs 1.17 crore), ex-showroom. All three are CBU imports.
“While the Centre has taken some steps for making EVs popular — it has reduced GST on all EVs from 12% to 5% and then there are income tax benefits — the import duty is still in the range of 60-100%,” Dhillon said. “It (import duty) can be reduced for some time till sales pick up for carmakers to justify manufacturing such cars in India.”
At the same time, he said the company is taking steps to make the buying decision easier for customers, including charging and buyback benefits. For instance, buyers of any of the three variants will receive a complimentary wall box AC charger in addition to the 11kW charger that comes as standard. “Also, early bird customers can avail of complimentary charging through 2021 at any Audi India dealership that is equipped with the charging facility,” Dhillon said. “We plan to install 100 chargers across the country in 75 cities over the next few months, of which more than 30 are already in place.”
Audi India has also introduced a buyback policy with the e-tron. “If a customer decides to sell the e-tron after a year, we will give her 60% of the cost of the car, after two years we will give 55% of the cost price back, and after three years 50%,” Dhillon said.
In the luxury electric passenger vehicle space, Mercedes-Benz had launched the EQC last year (`99 lakh), which was followed by the launch of the Jaguar I-Pace (`1.06 crore) earlier this year, and now the e-tron. Later this year, Volvo will launch the XC40 Recharge.
At the lower end of the market are Hyundai Kona Electric (Rs 23.7 lakh), MG ZS EV (Rs 20.99 lakh) and Tata Nexon EV (Rs 13.99 lakh).
The e-tron 55 and 55 Sportback have a 95kWh lithium-ion battery that enables a 359-484 km range, and the e-tron 50 gets a 71kWh battery with 264-379 km range, according to WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure), a laboratory test.
While Dhillon didn’t share booking numbers of the e-tron, he said not only are buyers from metros showing interest, but also from the hinterland.
In the pandemic-impacted CY2020, Audi India sold just 1,639 units, down from the highs of over 10,000 units per year it used to sell in 2013-15. The overall luxury car market also dropped from the peak of over 40,000 units per year in 2013-15 to about 21,000 units in CY2020, according to company data. “With a product-offensive strategy in place for CY2021, we expect double-digit growth this year,” Dhillon said.
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