Bhubaneswar | German luxury carmaker Audi will launch petrol versions of all its existing models in India by the first quarter of next year as it tries to adapt to changing market demand in the wake of ban on big diesel cars and SUVs in Delhi-NCR.
The company estimates it may lose around Rs 760 crore worth of sales this year due to the overall impact on consumer sentiment created by the diesel ban and different excise rates for diesel vehicles, which was imposed in the Budget.
Audi India, which plans to launch an all-new version of A4 sedan next month, will introduce the petrol variant of A6 sedan next week.
“This year has been a very difficult one as customers are confused due to the issues such as ban of diesel in Delhi-NCR and different excise duties imposed on those vehicles. They had postponed purchases,” Audi India Head Joe King said.
He further said: “It has been a real challenge changing our business strategy overnight from a predominantly diesel to petrol due to an out of the blue decision by the NGT and the Supreme Court.”
It has resulted in customers from other regions also putting a question mark on diesel vehicles as they were worried that such bans could also extend in those regions, King said.
When asked about impact on the company’s sales, King said, the sales loss could be around 1,500-2,000 cars for the full year.
In terms of value, taking Rs 38 lakh as the average price of affected models, it could be up to Rs 760 crore, he added.
King said Delhi-NCR is one of the company’s biggest markets in India and the company’s best selling SUV Q7 was the worst hit.
When asked about the company’s future plans, King said: “Now there is a significant shift in demand for petrol vehicles. So we will ensure that all our models sold in India will have both petrol and diesel options by the first quarter of next year.”
Currently, only Audi’s entry level A3 and A8 sedans have the petrol variants. It’s popular Q series SUVs are available only in diesel options.
The company sells sedan A3, A4, A6 and A8 along with SUVs Q3, Q5 and Q7 along with premium sports cars like the R8.
These are priced between Rs 28 lakh and Rs 2.5 crore.
“The petrol option for Q7 isn’t far away,” King added. On the sales growth, King said, this year Audi could have a “flat or a dip from last year”.
Audi sold 11,192 units in India last year with 3.14 per cent growth over 2014 even as it lost its leadership position in the Indian luxury car space to rival Mercedes-Benz.
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