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This article was first published 8 years ago  » Business » We're here for a marathon, not a sprint: Audi India chief

We're here for a marathon, not a sprint: Audi India chief

By Ajay Modi
June 05, 2015 11:50 IST
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Audi carAudi lost the top slot in the Indian luxury car market to Mercedes in the first quarter of the calendar year, after being there for a while.

Joe King (photographed below), the head of Audi India, tells Business Standard the company is focusing on strengthening the fundamentals and is ready for a marathon.

Edited excerpts:

What do you expect the RS 6 Avant to do to your volumes?

The luxury segment in India is still very small (33,000 cars last year).

It is obviously not going to generate a huge volume.

However, it is important since the performance car segment is core to the Audi DNA and the RS 6 Avant is a perfect addition to our sports car portfolio.

What level of localisation has Audi achieved?

I don’t have the numbers. But we produce 95 per cent of our cars in Aurangabad.

A lot of product development is done here. One of the designs of the A3 is from India.

Where does India figure as a market for Audi?

It is just outside the top 20 markets. We sold 10,851 cars last year.

That is a small share in the 1.75 million cars Audi sells globally. But India is a focus market.

Indians are immensely aspirational, optimistic and driven to succeed. Therefore, India will be a very important market.

What kind of focus do you have outside the metro cities?

Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are the main hubs for us.

But Tier II and III cities have grown consistently and also across the product range.

We are selling the R8 in some of these cities. This year, we moved to Ranchi.

We are the first luxury carmaker to venture into the northeast, opening a showroom in Guwahati in February.

We already had about 200 cars in and around Guwahati.

These were buyers who travelled to Kolkata or Delhi to buy luxury cars.

We realised it was important to be closer to the customer.

Since there is spare capacity at Aurangabad, will you look at exports?

Export is certainly one option. We have a capacity of 14,000 cars on a single shift. Export is likely to be part of the overall strategy for us.

Joe KingAudi lost the top slot in the luxury segment in January-March. Does it bother you?

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We are not here to throw only a couple of models.

We are here for the long run. We are well ahead of where we expected ourselves to be when we entered India seven years ago.

In a developing country, you will see incredibly rapid increases and decreases.

You need to have the right fundamentals. We have lined up six launches for the next six months.

What bothers you in India?

There are still some doubts about the economy.

While the fundamentals are there--interest rates are coming down and the GDP is looking up -- real traction is still a little away. That is a short-term challenge.

There is no magic switch, but the fundamentals are positive.

Audi is well on track for what we want to achieve.

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Ajay Modi
Source: source

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