India key to emerging mrkt growth; to launch new brands: Audi

Tags: Companies
Describing India as a key market for its growth in emerging economies, German luxury car-maker Audi today hinted at launching more premium brands but rued the volatility of the exchange rate in the country.

The brand with the four rings, which delivered over 1.5 million Audi brand cars in 2013, said it would try to maintain its leadership in premium car segment would continue to strive for expansion of its product portfolio considering the market potential.

"The story of Audi India is a story of success. We would like to maintain the leadership. We see the premium market developing in 2014. This is pretty encouraging for us," Audi Group's Member of Board of management for marketing and sales Luca De Meo said addressing the company's annual press conference here.

He identified the "volatility of exchange rate" in India as a matter of concern for the company but said measures are being initiated to deal with the situation.

In January, Audi India had reported 11 per cent growth in its 2013 sales at 10,002 units in India, thus becoming the first luxury car maker to cross the 10,000 milestone in the country. The company had 9,003 units in 2012. Audi currently assembles its sedans A4 and A6 along with SUVs Q5 and Q7 at the Aurangabad plant.

The company said with delivery of around around 1.575 million cars it achieved new record sales and reached the target that it had set itself for 2015 – more than 1.5 million deliveries – two years earlier than planned.

The group reported its revenue in 2013 at 49.9 billion euros, achieving an operating profit of more than 5 billion euros.

Expressing satisfaction over the company's performance, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said: "2013 was an extraordinary year and we remain on course for success in 2014."

He said between now and 2018, the company will be investing around 22 billion euro in innovations and new technologies as well as in expanding its worldwide manufacturing structures.

In Germany alone, it will will be taking on 1,500 new employees and offering apprenticeships to 750 young people this year.

Audi India Chief Joe King said A3 Cabriolet and a couple of other cars may be introduced in the India depending on the market potential. The Audi A3 sedan is being launched in India in mid-2014 and 17 new cars would be launched in 2014 alone, he added.

The car maker said it will focus on innovation and growth in the coming years in a big way.

"We are making enormous expenditure for future growth with our modular trategy," Stadler said, adding: "We sow today what we reap tomorrow."

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