The Teuton trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz are now targeting a brand new range of luxury car buyers, folks who are young, successful and moneyed enough to buy luxury cars, but want them at an more affordable price point. These first time luxury car buyers are looking for brand value, performance as well as affordability in a single package. Lo and behold, we have cars like the BMW 1-Series, the Audi A3 and the Mercedes Benz A-Class and B-Class luxury car models. All these cars are expected to be available in India by the end of 2014, or will they, really?
What was clear until yesterday doesn’t seem all that clear today. Michael Perschke, the Managing Director of Audi India has made an interesting statement. Mr Perschke has stated that Audi does not plan to launch smaller cars in India. Mr Perschke refers to the Audi A1 and states that such cars would dilute the German luxury brand in the Indian car market. He goes on to add that Audi will continue to aim for market leadership in India but will not launch smaller car models to spur sales growth, much unlike BMW and Mercedes Benz, both of whom are betting on their entry level cars for big volumes.
Now, we’re wondering what this statement from Mr Perschke means for the upcoming Audi A3 sedan, which will make its international debut next year. The A3 sedan was touted to arrive into India by 2014, forming Audi’s entry level car model, with a price tag as low as INR 20 lakhs for the base model of this luxury car. If Mr Perschke’s statement is taken at face value, the smallest car that Audi currently offers is the Audi Q3 crossover, and this could continue to remain the German brand’s entry level offering.
However, since Mr Perschke hasn’t stated anything about the A3 sedan’s launch in India, we’ll have to wait and watch for further clarification from Audi India, on whether this hotly anticipated car will be launched in India. Given that BMW and Mercedes Benz are both planning to launch their entry level luxury offerings, there’s a fat chance that Audi too will launch the A3 sedan in India as the brand is very bullish about the Indian luxury car space. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for new developments at Audi India. Watch this space.