P. Tharyan, Photography: Mohd. Nasir
Company Description: Audi
is represented in 110 countries worldwide and since 2004, Audi has been selling
its products in the Indian market. In
March 2007, Audi set up its own sales company for India. It established Audi
India as a Division of Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai. As a
manufacturer of high-quality and innovative luxury cars, Audi is one of the
world’s leading premium brands and is among the most admired on the world
goal is to become the leading automobile luxury brand in the Indian market in
the next few years. At present Audi is assembling the Audi A6, Audi A4, Audi
Q3, Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 for the Indian market in Aurangabad.
to the Audi team for winning the World Car of the Year title for the A3 model.
How elated are you and when is this car headed for India?
We always thought this would be a game changer and I
think that just goes to prove how much of a game changer it will be. Winning
any award such as this is just phenomenal, I think, it bodes pretty well when
our car arrives here midyear. It’s coming.
It will be the first model that will be produced from day one from our
Aurangabad facility. So it’s our first model that will be produced here from
Day One and we are thrilled with that.
India has been scaling new heights in sales of luxury vehicles in India. Has
this come as a pleasant surprise to you?
We are a company driven by success, we are the only 2nd
country in Asia to be number 1, so we don’t take it lightly, its often harder
to hold than it is to get there but we think we have got the right plans in
place, we have the right product for the consumer and the A3 will be another
model that proves that. So we’re in really good shape for the future as well
so, very happy with the way it’s going.
hope that you will be able to continue with this trend in the years to come?
We are looking for profitable and sustainable growth; I
think the used car facility is another big milestone in the whole story in
India it’s a really important thing, it will help support our really high
resale values and opens up a whole new market for us as well. And so in
combination with A3, the future looks really bright.
are your views on the future of the luxury car segment as a whole in India?
I think it’s absolutely going to grow, but I think for
any emerging market, generally its volatile, I think the pleasing thing we see
here is very good steady growth. It helps you plan better, helps you make a
good solid business model and that’s something that we are doing. So we see a
wonderful future for India.
are your expectations from the new government after the general elections?
There are a lot of people out there who are far more
qualified to answer that because I have been here for just a while. In general
you would look for stability. Stability in policy making that’s what any
business would look for.
have new cars here, and also used cars here in India. Is there a demand for
such used luxury cars?
I think it’s not measured. We see a huge potential to
grow even faster than the current new car markets. So I think there is an
incredible thirst for luxury in this country, the used cars opens up a whole
new segment for us. That also helps us keep our customers loyal, as they get a
better resale value, so they can upgrade earlier. This also fuels the new car
business as well.
your used car business, will you be selling cars that are just a year or so
In reality we have only been in the country for six
years, so we have grown very rapidly so to take the number one position and
sell 10,000 cars and be the first to do so, I guess our whole car parc is quite
young. I think in time you will see it will expand even further.
a fact that cars like Audi are bought by the well-heeled. But who buys the used
cars from Audi, are they also the well-heeled?
I think it’s a very broad market, I think even when you
look at Audi, in general the Indian consumer is one that looks for value. I think that’s been the key to our success,
we have been providing a lot of value. We see a lot of people jump quite a few
price bands if you like, to come into A4 and Q3. We brought in the Q3S in the manual
transmission and that’s done phenomenally well, and now the A3 will be another
huge model for us. I think the used cars just opens up the whole value
proposition also for who maybe don’t want to buy a new car, but would want real
value and luxury. That’s what you can get now in used cars.
it fair to assume that a used car from Audi will be a rich man’s second car?
In general you will find people who really prefer to
buy new, and people who prefer to buy used. So I think that’s my experience
around the world, and that why I think this will open a market for those people
who want and aspire to drive an Audi. But they may be seeing a great value in
buying a great quality be it new, or an approved used car and that opens up a
whole new segment to us.