German luxury car maker Audi plans to churn out more from its existing plant in India through a second production shift as it aims to more than double its sales by 2015, a top company executive said.
The third-largest player in the Indian luxury car market may start second shift at its factory in Aurangabad to take the production to 3,000 units by next year from 2000 units at present. It has already surpassed last year’s total sales of 1,658 cars by selling 1,876 cars in the first eight months of this year and is targeting to end 2010 with sales of 2,700 cars.
Michael Perschke, who heads Indian operations of Audi, said the brand is not desperately chasing bigger rivals BMW and Mercedes. “We would prefer to be the most aspirational brand rather than a market leader in volumes. We were the last to enter India, but the growth has been faster than expectations,” he said.
The luxury car maker aims to sell over 6,000 cars in India by 2015, by when the segment is expected to more than double to over 20,000 units a year. The company plans to launch the next generation of its flagship sedan Audi A8 by the year-end and has initiated a market study for its luxury A7 sedan.
Audi is looking to extend its product line-up and may import some new cars including a fresh sports utility vehicle (SUV) for India, as the market is gradually shifting towards bigger vehicles.
It assembles sedans, A4 and A6, at its Aurangabad facility and taking a cue from spiralling sales for SUVs had started assembling its compact SUV, the Q5, from July. Local assembly allows a firm to price its products more aggressively and attract consumers.
The Indian luxury car market is dominated by BMW and Mercedes. BMW displaced Mercedes-Benz as the top seller in the segment in 2009 only to see its German rival snatch back the top slot in the first seven months of this year.