BMW retains No 1 spot, speedy Audi a strong second in India's luxury car market
For Audi India, 2012's highlights include the launch of the TT at an aggressive price point as well as the A4 saloon and the A8 L luxury saloon, the latter coming with a 4.2-litre TDI engine.
Audi India exceeded its sales target for 2012; in October it had revised the original target of 8,000 units to 8,600 units. Audi sold 5,511 units in calendar 2011, so the 2012 sales represent an increase of 63 percent. Mercedes-Benz India, which has now slipped to the third position, sold 7,138 units as wholesale numbers as against 7,430 units in 2011. BMW India’s numbers are retail figures.
In terms of models, the top-sellers for BMW India were the 3-series and 5-series which accounted for 57 percent of total sales. In the course of the year, the company launched the 6-series Gran Coupe and the M5 and also brought in the entire range of Minis. The year ended with 302 Minis sold. BMW India also launched its biggest dealership at Faridabad in Haryana, taking its total number of dealerships in the country to 29.
For Audi India, 2012's highlights include the launch of the TT at an aggressive price point as well as the A4 saloon and the A8 L luxury saloon, the latter coming with a 4.2-litre TDI engine. The company says it is aiming for the No 1. spot in the Indian market by 2015. Audi India also announced the launch of its pre-owned programme – Approved Plus – in which a select number of outlets will have about 8-10 pre-owned Audis on sale.
For MBIL, the key milestone in 2012 was the launch of the new M-class SUV in May which it claims has been a success and is booked until May 2013. Mercedes also launched its B-class as a CBU and hopes to increase sales by assembling it as a CKD model. The S-class, the company says, continues to remain the leader in its segment. MBIL has set itself a target to be No. 1 in India by the year 2020.
All three top luxury carmakers also opened a slew of dealerships to cover all parts of the country. MBIL opened its largest dealership and service outlet at Andheri in Mumbai, spread over 100,000 square feet. It also inaugurated its new paint shop at the Chakan plant. The unit can paint 20,000 units and this capacity can be doubled if required. MBIL has pursued its aggressive network expansion strategy in 2012 and is now present in 31 cities with 72 touchpoints.
Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover India reached wholesales of 2,393 cars in 2012, compared to 1,813 cars in 2011, a 32 percent growth. During the year, Land Rover launched the Range Rover. In India its product range includes the Freelander 2 (built in Pune), Discovery 4, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport and the all-new Range Rover. The Jaguar product range includes the XF, XFR, XKR, XKR-S and the XJ. The globally anticipated Jaguar F-Type – an all-new, two-seater sportscar – will be launched in India later this year, along with model year changes for the XF and XJ.
The luxury car market has faced a dip in demand thanks to the government’s decision to increase the CBU rate from 60 percent to 75 percent. This policy has made luxury carmakers opt for the CKD to bring in their offerings at an aggressive price.
Like all segments in the Indian automobile sector, the luxury segment has borne the brunt of higher fuel prices, a weak rupee and the overall impact of a slowing economy. At the beginning of 2013, all top three carmakers have increased their retail prices by between five and 10 percent. In a slowing economy with interest rates remaining unchanged, the battle to be lux supremo continues.
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