German auto major Audi is banking on entry-level luxury car segment to widen its customer base to enhance its overall sales as it gradually recovers from the impact of coronavirus in India, according a senior company official.
Audi India on Friday launched its luxury entry-level SUV Q2 in India priced between Rs 34.99 lakh and Rs 48.89 lakh (ex-showroom) deliveries of which will start by the first week of November, targeting first-time luxury car buyers in addition to its existing customers.
— Audi India (@AudiIN) October 16, 2020
“Introducing cars at the entry level, our idea is to expand the market so that we can bring more customers into the luxury portfolio,” Audi India Head Balbir Singh Dhillon told PTI.
In the beginning of this month, Audi India had opened pre-bookings for the Q2.
“We have so far booked over 100 cars. That actually shows that there is an inherent demand in the market. Also, many customers have been waiting for a car to be launched in this segment. I am sure many of these customers are first-time entrants to the luxury space. So not only our existing customers of luxury cars will buy this car but many first-time entrants will also buy,” he said.
The Q2 comes with a two-litre petrol engine with Audi’s patented Quattro technology, which is a four-wheel drive system that delivers optimal power to each wheel as needed for superior handling and grip. The engine produces power of 190hp and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds.
Dhillon said along with entry-level models and the company’s pre-owned car business — Audi Approved Plus — where it tries to bring customers early on before they buy new cars and give them the Audi experience, the company is looking to widen its customer base.
“Converting an existing customer to buy a second car is far easier than finding a new one. It also needs investments. So, it is always good to have a larger base whether through entry-level products or through Audi Approved Plus so that we can continue to sell multiple cars…,” he said.
Stating that sales are improving month-on-month, especially in the festive season after the coronavirus-induced disruptions, Dhillon said, “with the Q2 (coming in) we will have far more stronger closing of the year. We will continue with the bookings and we will start deliveries (of the Q2) from early November.”
He said in order to overcome the perception of luxury cars being expensive to maintain, Audi India has also offered an introductory Peace of Mind benefit that comes bundled with a 5-year service package with 2+3 years extended warranty and 2+3 years roadside assistance.
“When we did the pre-bookings, we anticipated that there would be many first-time buyers. There is always a perception in people’s mind that the maintenance of luxury cars is expensive, so there is a kind of fear to move into the luxury space. So, we did a Peace of Mind package for five year for those who are booking the car now,” he added.
Commenting on the current state of business, Dhillon said, “month-on-month the business is improving now and with the new launches and new products coming into the picture it is only going to enhance… we are extremely happy and positive that this is our 6th launch in the last ten months and we are going to launch more new products as we move on.”
He further said the company has been able to generate “2,200-2,300 leads” a month at present as compared to around 3,000 a month before the pandemic.
“So that’s the kind of business which is back on track in terms of sales. With the festive season on, we are now only going to improve. Normally the last quarter is one of the strongest in the luxury segment for sure,” Dhillon said.
He further said, “last month, for the first time this year we did better than the previous year in September in aftersales business. So, the aftersales business is back on track.”