Audi India, which registered 27% growth in 2022 by selling 4,187 cars, expects 2023 to be the best ever for the premium car segment.
Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi India, told FE that 2023 can be a record year, provided there are no unforeseen circumstances or black swan events. “We are not yet fully out of the semiconductor shortage crisis and inflation is still a concern, but all other factors point towards return to full normalcy,” Dhillon said. “The industry can expect to touch the 2018 peak this year, which was about 40,000 units.”
Premium or luxury cars are loosely defined as those sold by Mercedes-Benz, BMW
As per industry estimates (all premium carmakers don’t share sales data with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), about 38,000 premium cars were sold in India in 2022 — led by Mercedes-Benz (15,822 units), BMW (11,268 units) and Audi (4,187 units).
Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and Lexus together sold about 7,000 units. This was just about 2,000 units shy of the 2018 peak.
Declining to share the sales target for 2023 for Audi India, Dhillon said it is going to be a milestone year. “We will have the full-strength of our models back in the country and are confident of a strong performance in the months ahead.”
On Monday, Audi launched the Q3 Sportback SUV in India. It’s the quickest SUV in its segment (accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds) and is priced Rs 51.43 lakh (ex-showroom).
Later this year, the German carmaker will launch its sixth electric car model in India, the Q8 e-tron, as a CBU (completely built unit) import. It already sells fully imported electric cars such as the e-tron GT, RS e-tron GT, e-tron and e-tron Sportback.
In the Union Budget FY24, customs duty on imported electric vehicles, other than with cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of more than $40,000, was raised to 70%, from 60% earlier, making such cars more expensive. While Dhillon didn’t comment on the step, he said the massive focus on infrastructure in the Budget will support sales of premium cars.
“New expressways are coming up. Travelling in cars on certain routes such as Delhi-Jaipur or Bengaluru-Chennai is now more comfortable and it also saves time,” he said.