German luxury carmaker Audi expects its business to stay robust in India over the next few years as it looks to expand its sales network and roll out new products, including electric vehicles, as per a top company official.
The company, which has shifted its entire product range in the country to petrol and electric lines since April last year, has already introduced eight new products in the market in the first nine months of the year and is now gearing up to bring in the new version of its bestseller model Q5 SUV.
''We have launched eight products already this year and Q5 would be the ninth product this month. In the first nine months of the year, we have seen sales grow around 123 per cent as compared to the same period of last year.
''In the same period, the rest of the luxury car segment in the country has grown by 41 per cent,'' Audi India Head Balbir Singh Dhillon told PTI.
He noted that the company went through a dip cycle while transitioning from BSIV to BSVI regime but now things are back on track.
Audi discontinued its diesel vehicle range in India from April last year, and since then has been focussing on petrol and electric models.
''Now we are getting our pie back and I am sure that once we launch the Q5, the impact on the sales is going to reflect positively this year as well as next year,'' Dhillon said.
When asked how the company looks at this year and the next year in terms of sales growth, he said: ''We should grow in high double digits, that is our intention.'' Acknowledging semiconductor shortage as a challenge, Dhillon noted that the company would find some solution for that as well.
''We expect high double digit sales growth but it would also depend on the supply situation. Demand right now is more than supply so high double digit is what we are looking at this year. Next year also we expect the same with the impact of all new product launches coming into play in 2022,'' he added.
The company had sold 1,693 units in India in 2020.
With the diesel range gone, Audi is now looking at petrol and electric products to steer its growth in the country. It has already launched five electric models in India.
''So far the response for the electric cars has been phenomenal, it has been more than what we had anticipated. The first lot of cars which we brought in has been already sold and we are now waiting for the second lot to arrive in November-December. The lot is also partly pre-booked, so whatever we are bringing is selling at a fast clip,'' Dhillon said.
The EV range is selling all across the country and there is very positive response, he added.
''The acceptability of the customers for electric mobility is really good. So that encourages us to continue to focus and even push our headquarters to give us more cars,'' Dhillon said.
He noted that imparting education to the new generation regarding the benefits of electric mobility could help in the further growth of the segment in the country.
Charging infrastructure development and government support in the instalment of chargers inside societies could help EV sales, he added.
''Besides, moves like subsidies to the companies who are setting charging infra and setting up of chargers at each fuel station could help in the growth of EVs in the country,'' Dhillon said.
On enhancing the sales network, he noted that the company is focusing on establishing workshops, doubling Audi approved showrooms from 7 to 14 and having around 30 dealerships in the country.
''Our philosophy is based on a workshop first approach where we want to expand firstly with workshops, followed by Audi approved showrooms and then normal dealerships,'' Dhillon said.
Focus would remain on combining the strengths of physical and digital when it comes to sales infra, he added. Dhillon noted that for the last couple of years, Audi has been working on customer centricity, product, network and digitisation.
''There may be few changes here and there but the core would remain the same and follow the same parameters,'' he added.
Globally, Audi has decided to sell internal combustion engine cars only till 2033. It is going to be fully electric cars after that.
(With inputs from PTI)
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