2012 News Maker: Michael Perschke

by 21 Dec 2012


The German trio of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi has dominated the Indian luxury car market, and continues to do so. Among them, the Ingolstadt head-quartered Audi is the one that seems to be posing the biggest challenge to the other players in the luxury car market.

Under Michael Perschke’s leadership, Audi India’s market performance has made it the fastest growing business for Audi globally. Audi India has already exceeded its 8,000 unit sales target for 2012. The revised target for the year is 8,600 units. The fast growth rate is on a relatively small base but that’s set to change as the market progresses. The projected growth plan sees India as one of top five markets for Audi AG in 2021.

Audi India's energetic 45-year-old chief is often seen hobnobbing often with filmstars, who are a significant set of customers for the brand, with the butch Q7 SUV as one of their favourites. A regular in the social network, Perschke is prompt in his responses.

Perschke, who joined Audi India in July 2010, has led the brand’s growth from 3,003 units in that year to 8,067 units during January-November 2012. Audi, which overtook Mercedes-Benz in sales in India under Perschke’s leadership, is now breathing down the neck of current luxury car market leader, BMW India. The goal for Audi India is to be No. 1 in the luxury car business by 2015.

The brand’s reach will be key to determine the level of its success. Therefore, Perschke’s team is busy signing up new dealers to sell Audi’s dozen-and-odd models in India. Late last month Perschke inaugurated Audi’s latest, and Ahmedabad’s largest, luxury car dealership.

The next stage of competition among luxury carmakers will be the entry level luxury cars. Audi is set to counter Mercedes-Benz’s B-class, A-class (yet to be launched) and BMW’s 1 Series (to be launched next year) with its A3 and A1 models.

New car sales are key for Audi’s growth in India, and so is the pool of Audi cars currently on the road. These cars, as in the case of mass market brands, can enter the used car market through dealers and help them trade new cars in return. Therefore, the company has launched the Audi Approved: plus programme. The new move will also help it rope in customers who otherwise cannot afford a brand-new Audi. With the majority of India’s population below 35 years of age, and rising incomes, the brand with the four rings will try to capture all possible opportunities.

Audi has made some interesting moves to gain market share. Its Q range of luxury SUVs has been key to its success in India. But its peers are also making counter strategies. The coming year will see some interesting moves by all luxury carmakers. Audi’s moves will be closely watched for sure.

Perschke has got his job cut out.

SUMANTRA BAROOAH