German luxury carmaker Audi is seeking to accelerate its sales growth in India with the launch of its all-new Q5 SUV, one of its volume drivers next month, according to a senior company official.
The company will open bookings of the upcoming Q5 in the next couple of weeks. It had suspended sales of its popular SUVs Q3, Q5 and the Q7 last year when India moved to BS-VI emission norms with the company also deciding to stop offering diesel engine options in the country.
"We plan to launch the locally produced Q5 in the month of November. We've been waiting for this for a long time. So far we are doing extremely well in spite of the fact that some of our volume models like Q range are not there in full strength," Audi India Head Balbir Singh Dhillon told PTI.
With this Q5 launch next month, he added, "We are now looking forward towards the next phase of our growth and I'm pretty confident that will also come sooner than later. The Q5 is one of our most successful models from the time that we have been in India.
Audi India, which shares its annual sales numbers only, had sold 1,639 units in 2020. However, in terms of growth in the first eight months of 2021 it has already witnessed 115 per cent increase in sales.
"On the volume side, we already have three digit growth for this year and I am expecting that with the Q5 and other models later, it will only go up," Dhillon said.
On the absence of its popular high volume models such as Q3, Q5 and Q7 SUVs from the Indian market, Dhillon said when the emission norms in India moved last year from BS-IV to BS-VI the company had also decided that to go from "petrol plus diesel strategy to petrol and electrification".
The coronavirus pandemic had also delayed the homologation of the new vehicles for compliance of Indian regulations.
"Homologation is a long process that takes time and the pandemic also did not help. So the time got stretched...Normally homologation happens in about nine months but because of the pandemic it got delayed," he added.
Stating that all those issues are now behind, he said, "We will open up the bookings of the new Q5 in a couple of weeks and then we will start the deliveries next month."
The new Q5 will be the 9th product launch for Audi India, including five electric cars, this year.
Bullish on the road ahead, Dhillon said, "We fulfilled our promise of bringing the highest number of electric cars. No other manufacturer even in the volume segment has brought in five electric cars. Our promise of five electric cars in India is fulfilled and now we will fulfil our promise of continuing our cars with petrol strategy."
The new petrol versions of other popular models Q3 and the Q7 will also be launched in India going forward, he said without disclosing timelines.
When asked about the semiconductor shortage issue, he said Audi India has been managing so far but has been impacted to an extent.
"So far the headquarters has been kind that we are getting production of what is required but of course to some extent, I would definitely say that the waiting period for some of our cars has increased. Let's say a car that was available immediately or within a month, the waiting period has gone up by a month or so," Dhillon said.
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