Audi overtakes BMW in luxury sales race in India thanks to its SUVs

Article by Anita Panait, on May 20, 2013

German carmaker Audi AG has credited its overwhelming luxury car success in India to its unique market penetration strategy – rapid expansion to smaller cities in the country as well as the launch of small sport utility vehicles. Conventionally, luxury carmakers pounce on large cities in India -- Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata – where majority of the country’s rich are residing.

They entice these wealthy people to buy their luxury units by offering lavish sedans and big SUVs.  But Audi broke the convention by reaching out to the wealthy living in smaller cities and bringing in a smaller SUV in 2012.

To further increase its fortunes in India, Audi is planning to offer more SUVs, but won’t replicate its rivals’ move to introduce a compact hatchback in the country. Michael Perschke, Audi India brand director, remarked that for the carmaker, the offering sequence will be: SUVs first, then sedans and then hatchbacks. He noted that India is a country where SUVs have multiple benefits.

Perschke quipped that to attract customers in smaller cities -- where roads are rougher but not as narrow as those in large urban areas -- Audi may offer a new range of sportier SUVs in addition to three existing offerings. Audi will introduce the compact A3 in India in 2014, but in a sedan version rather than a hatchback. On the other hand, Audi’s rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz are intruding hatchbacks in India, where demand for these vehicles is slumping due to the country’s slowing economy.

As a result, Audi posted a 43-percent jump in sales to 9,350 units in the year ended March 31, 2013, overtaking a BMW that logged a 9.5-percent drop in sales to 8,686 units, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on figures from the carmakers and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Mercedes recorded a 5.4-percent dive in sales in India to 7,015 units in the same period.

Audi is entering a new market segment with the Audi Q3. The premium sport utility vehicle, in compact-class form, is sporty, versatile, and efficient. It is comfortable whether on the road or off. The Q3’s every aspect showcases Audi technology, from its body, to its chassis, to its drivetrain, to its assistance and multimedia systems. Also, many of its solutions come straight from luxury class.

The Q3 is instantly recognizable as the youngest Audi family member. Its coupe-like lines express its sporty character, its distinctive lights accentuate its front and rear, and its sharp edges frame gracefully arched sheet metal surfaces. The car also has wedge-shaped headlights with optional LED daytime running lights and xenon plus units. It has LED tail lights, too.

Moreover, the Q3 has a low roof line that starts to drop rather early. Its flat D-pillars, meanwhile, underscore its dynamics. There are also add-on parts that come in three variants: anthracite, black, or the body color. You can also choose from two exterior packages.

Additionally, the Audi Q3’s base version, which is going to be available soon, weighs 1,445 kg. Its rigid, quiet and safe occupant cell integrates several ultra-high-strength steels. The tailgate and engine hood are both made of aluminum. And as is typical of Audi’s Q models, the car’s undivided tail lights have been integrated into its tailgate, which is wrapped around the pillars. The car also boasts an unusually low drag coefficient of just 0.32. Furthermore, the compact SUV is 4.39 m long, 1.83 m wide, and 1.59 m high.

Topics: audi, bmw, suv, sales, india

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