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201320 Aug

New Audi Q3 S Receives 125 Bookings on First Day



If the response on Day 1 to the new Q3 S is any indication, then Audi India seems to have struck gold. According to the company, the new Q3 S received 125 confirmed booking within hours of the announcement. That statistic will be music to Audi India MD Michael Perschke’s ears.


The Audi Q3 S is simply a cheaper version of the hot-selling Q3. The ‘S’ moniker, usually reserved for sportier versions of cars, is Audi’s smart way of luring buyers, and giving the car a proclivity of sporting character. Of course, the astute car buyer knows that Audi’s sportier models use the letter ‘S’ as a prefix, not a suffix. Hence, a hot version of the Q3 would be the SQ3, and not the Q3 S.


Whatever. For its pain in understanding the Indian car buyer’s psyche, Audi has been well rewarded. 125 bookings in a few hours is no laughing matter. When I say ‘cheaper’, the new Q3 S is indeed 2.5 lakh rupees less than the regular Q3. This cut-price has been achieved by removing the excellent DSG gearbox and substituting it with a 6-speed manual. There’s no quattro all-wheel drive either, which in my humble opinion, should be one of the key reasons for you to buy an Audi SUV in the first place. Quattro is one of Audi’s pioneering technologies, and one which contributed significantly to building the Audi brand. Of course, there are enough car buyers in India for whom buying the badge is more important than the technology which goes behind it.


What the Q3 S has achieved is that it has given Audi a strong product with which to cut-off its competition at the knees. The new Q3 S is about the same money as Mercedes’ B-Class, but what you get is an SUV body-style instead of a large hatch, with arguably far more road presence and image, and the belief of more interior room.


The Indian luxury car buyer is indeed a fickle breed, and, it can be argued, not particularly clued in to what different brands stand for. There is bound to be some blood-letting too, as the luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes compete for their cash. Let’s not forget we’ve got Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo lurking in the background too. The Indian luxury car market, which was about 25,000 units a year ago, is expected to grow ten times by 2020. That is a significant number by all accounts, and so these companies will go all out to grab as large a share of the pie as possible.


But an Audi SUV without quattro? As far as the Indian luxury car buyer is concerned, who cares? All he wants is four rings on the nose, four-wheel drive be damned.