India is ‘a strategic market for Audi’

Amrit Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on March 23, 2015 Published on March 23, 2015

LUCA DE MEO, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing

Audi continues to be on a roll. Setting a new record for deliveries at more than 1.74 million vehicles, Audi’s revenues crossed €53 billion in 2014. In the Indian market, the German luxury carmaker sold 10,851 units in 2014, registering a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent. In an email conversation with BusinessLine, Luca de Meo, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing, Audi AG, offers his perspective on the Indian market and plans in 2015. Edited excerpts:


German rivals have brought in the Mercedes-Benz A-class and the BMW 1-series. Will Audi offer a hatch for the Indian market?

 The customers are just asking for more and more sedans. We bring in the car that makes most sense from a business point of view and from a customer’s point of view. That was the reason why we went with the Audi A3 Sedan rather than the Audi A3 hatchback last year. Hence, there is no plan to bring in the smaller models in the short term.

BMW recently shipped in the i8. Any plans for the e-tron range for India? 

It is under discussion. I think we can look at these in the future but there are no firm plans at this stage.

What is your perspective / expectation from the overall Indian luxury market?

 India is a strategic market for Audi and the fourth top market in Asia after China, Japan and South Korea. We have a 34 per cent share of the Indian market, which is among the highest for us globally. Audi has a similar market share in China whereas Brazil, our other growth market, is lower at 32 per cent.

That is the reason why we are taking a ‘long-term’ position on India. Obviously, we went through some tough times with the devaluation of the rupee and the resulting general economic sentiment in India. However, we are absolutely thrilled with the progress we are making in India; in fact, we’re the second market in Asia to be No.1 after China.

Could you elaborate on the Q1 and the Q8? Any time frame for its entrance into Indian shores?

 There are no immediate plans for these models.

Which model do you see as a growth driver for the year?

 The growth will come from across the range. If you look at purely the volume growth, the Audi A3 Sedan is doing brilliantly. The Q3 SUV is also doing exceptionally well. And India is one of the top 10 markets for the Audi Q7, which is a big achievement. We have new models slated for release in 2015 apart from new body styles, which are not necessarily for a short-term volume gain.

How big a part will the used-car business play in the Audi growth story for 2015?

 The used car business is a key part of our strategy in India. We introduced the Audi Approved: plus programme for used-cars in December 2012 and recently inaugurated our seventh outlet in Kolkata. With the market being so young, the car park is not that big in India yet, but certainly it is growing and last year the volume tripled, so it is a very key part of our strategy. 

What are your sales targets for 2015?

We sold 10,851 units and registered a record market share of 34 per cent in the luxury car segment in 2014. We need to make sure dealers with our franchise make more money than others do. Hence, the most important part is the foundation we are looking to build and not just looking at volumes and sales.

The writer was in Germany for the Audi Annual Press Conference at the invitation of the company.

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Published on March 23, 2015
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