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201122 Nov

michael perschke audi india

"We are all addicted to the drug called China!"

 

autojunction.in caught up with the man at helm of Audi’s business in India. Say hello Michael Perschke

 

Audi is on a steep growth curve in India. The brand of the Four Rings was a relative unknown in the luxury car market, but has been growing at a fair clip and today accounts for a fair share of India’s luxury car market, expected to touch 300,000 units by the end of the decade.

 

In an informal tete-a-tete with autojunction.in, Michael Perschke shared the brand’s vision and strategy for the Indian market, shared his perspective on China, and hinted at some new products and offerings in the future.

 

AJ: How different has your approach been in India, vis-à-vis the competition?

MP: We’re very clear on one thing: our focus has always been our brand. We are not merely chasing numbers or volumes. Three years ago, not too many people were aware about Audi, Audi quality or Audi’s heritage. We have carefully built our image and we are sure the sales will follow. In fact, this year, we are looking at almost doubling our sales. We expect 90 to 95 % growth this year.

 

AJ: After a stellar first 6 months, the Indian car market as a whole has cooled. Your thoughts

MP: Yes, the market is not as exciting as it was at the beginning of the year. But that it is more in the volume segment. For us, we have not been subjected to a similar drop in numbers. However, we did talk some numbers with our colleagues (at Volkswagen and Skoda), and I think maybe the 2.55 million figure (for the entire Indian car market) in 2011 is maybe little bit optimistic…maybe 2.3 million.

 

AJ: How big do you really think the Indian car market will be, say by 2020.

MP: Oh, that’s an interesting question! Yes, we are always studying such things. I think India could maybe be 7 million units in 10 years…but for that infrastructure has to grow. But between 5 million and 7 million for sure.

 

AJ: More specifically, how big do you think the luxury car market could be by 2020? Are there any parallels you could draw with China perhaps?

MP: (Laughs) We are all addicted to the drug called China. This year, Audi sells 300,000 cars in China, more than Germany, which is 280,000 cars. So yes, China is a very big market. India could be 300,000 cars by 2020. India is definitely a very important market for us, top 5 globally.

 

AJ: You sell the A4 and A6 in long-wheelbase versions in China. Do you think Indian customers might be interested in a similar product?

MP: (Pauses) Yes, we are looking at the A4L and A6L, but we have to see how they fit in the market…there would be some overlap…so if we maybe look at long wheelbase in India then we have to see if we continue with the other models…so nothing for sure, but yes, we are studying it. Interesting that you ask because sometimes our customers ask if we will make a long wheelbase Q7! (laughs)

 

AJ: Presently, which models other than the obviously successful Q5 and Q7 do you see really building Audi’s volumes in India.

MP: Oh, the new A6 is selling very strongly…we have a 3 month waiting period on A6. 85 % of A6 sales are for diesel, and in diesel, Audi is very strong. Our TDI engines are the best for performance and efficiency, and the customer understands that.

 

AJ: What about the upcoming Q3? Aren’t you losing ground to the BMW X1?

MP: You will see the car very soon. With Q3, we will do something very different in India. I am sure by 2013 Q3 will be the leader in its segment. I cannot comment on what the competition is doing, but we know them. We are competing in all the world markets so we know how to sell our cars. Globally we are now the Number 2 luxury car maker, after BMW. But we have overtaken Mercedes.

 

AJ: Do you think India will ever progress beyond just assembly of certain models from CKD kits? Are there any plans to manufacture Audi cars in India?

MP: You know, we are always studying. For now, with the volumes, there is no sense in making the cars in India, but in future, who knows. We must be ready. Already, we have customer clinic regularly, and we make the cars better for India. For example, the rear seat entertainment in the A6 is best in class. We also have dual horns for India! (laughs)

Yes, we are looking at it…as volumes grow, we may have R&D done in India. Also, VW Group is looking at sourcing components from India.

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Audi Car Features


Interview: Michael Perschke, Head – Audi India

In an informal tete-a-tete with autojunction.in, Michael Perschke shared the brand’s vision and strategy for the Indian market, shared his perspective on China, and hinted at some new products and offerings in the future.

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