Import duty on luxury cars must be cut to 40%: Audi India

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on September 22, 2021

Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head, Audi India , during the launch of Audi etron GT   -  KAMAL NARANG

Launches electric four-door coupes

The buying power of youth in India is improving when it comes to luxury cars, but some relaxation in import duties is needed for such products so that the market reaches new heights, a top official at Audi India said.

Speaking on the sidelines of two new product launches, Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head, Audi India, told BusinessLine that import duties should come down to at least 40 per cent for 5-6 years, for the market to reach some volume and cater to new buyers. Right now, import duties go beyond 100 per cent when everything is added.

“From the affordability point of view, we have seen really good uptake in cars that are ₹1 crore-plus in general... not just the electric vehicles (EVs), but overall. You can correlate to this fact the quantum of liquidity with customers — any IPO is oversubscribed 100 times sometimes. That means retail investors have a lot of money, people are not able to spend the money on holiday travel and so many things. People are buying personal mobility for that reason...for weekend holidays,” Dhillon said.

He said that Audi India has grown more than 115 per cent on yearly basis in the first eight months of this calendar year as compared to the industry’s (luxury cars) growth of 47 per cent.

On the higher import duty for luxury car or EVs, he said, “the more import duty is taken care of, it has three levels of effect — every 10 per cent reduction has lower GST and also lower registration costs. The earliest possible ways to reduce the taxation, the multiple effect that you get, and reverse as well. The higher import duty has impact on GST because it is tax on tax”.

Asked about PLI scheme, he said the latest announcement by the government is very sector-specific and focused on electric mobility and hydrogen cells, not only for vehicle manufacturers but also components manufacturers.

“The first decision is, ‘when do we start manufacturing cars (electric) in India?’ then come the do’s and don’ts. The question is when. The incentive we need is for two years and we want to do it as soon as possible and that is where the threshold limit comes into the picture...the earlier the better,” Dhillon said.

More the merrier

On entry of Tesla in India, Dhillon said “more the merrier because we are in the very beginning of the electric mobility and more players would mean faster infrastructure. At this point in time there is no competition but we all will help grow electric mobility in the country”.

Audi globally, has plans to launch ‘only electric’ vehicles from 2026 onwards of new models and by 2033 will start phasing out the production of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

The company, on Wednesday, launched two fully-electric four-door coupes — the Audi e-tron GT and the Audi RS e-tron GT — to its range of EVs in India, priced at ₹1.80 crore and ₹2.05 crore respectively (ex-showroom). The e-tron GT comes with a power of 390 kW and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, while the 475 kW RS e-tron GT achieves the same feat in 3.3 seconds.

Audi said that the e-tron GT can cover a distance of 401-481 km in a single charge while the RS e-tron GT can cover between 388 km and 500 km in a single charge.

Published on September 22, 2021

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