Audi India will sell only gasoline cars for now
MUMBAI: Audi India will sell only gasoline vehicles this year with all Volkswagen Group Companies are still reeling under the Dieselgate crisis that hit the group in Europe five years ago. With diesel engine that feeds 70% of Audi Cars sold in India in 2019, their absence combined with a severely depleted portfolio as the company migrates from the emission regime BS IV to BS VI, can see how sales of the German luxury brand fall to a 10-year mark .
From a maximum in 2015 when it sold 11,192 cars, sales were reduced to 4,595 units in 2019. The automaker until 2013 led the group of luxury car manufacturers, surpassing both Mercedes Benz & BMW . However, its sales have plummeted since 2016.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of premium SUV Q8, only its second BS VI model after sedan A6 launched last year, Audi India head Balbir Singh Dhillon acknowledged that the year would be a challenging one. It is only from 2021 onwards when its portfolio will be replenished & strategy on both diesel & electric firmed up that the turnaround can kickoff.
“This year will be a challenging one, not only for Audi, but the entire industry. I see a flat year in the luxury market. The change from BS IV to BS VI cannot happen overnight. These are among the headwinds that we will face. The absence of diesel will also be felt. But we hope to emerge from all this stronger, ”said Dhillon.
Audi India had 13 models, many of them with multiple engine options. Going forward, it plans to reintroduce all of them but with only petrol as of now. They include the high volume A4, & Q3. The company days the response to A6 petrol sedan has been encouraging. The Q8 petrol SUV priced Rs 1.3 crore will test the waters. But the real indication of whether customers embrace petrol SUVs will come with the launch of Q3, Q5 & Q7.
Suspending diesel powertrains is a global fallout of the emission fudging accusations that Volkswagen Group had faced in Europe & the US. The conglomerate decided to drop diesel engines in the short term to emerge from the crisis. Dhillon said that the brand had not given up on diesels & was still evaluating its diesel strategy for India.
Dhillon said Audi would launch one product every quarter. “Not only will they all be BS VI, they will also be either new generation vehicles or refreshed versions of the current ones.” The company had firming up a strategy for 2025 based on four pillars: Customer centricity, products, network & digitalisation.
Audi is also set to launch the pure electric SUV e-tron in 2020. It will, however, continue to focus on petrol-driven cars.