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German car giants ready to race

New Delhi, April 28: Premium car makers are planning to drive in a slew of launches after the elections with the hope that a stable government will boost sales.

German car maker Audi may bring in the A3 entry level sedan in August. Describing the A3 model as a game-changer, Audi India head Joe King had earlier said the car had the potential to be the largest selling up-market model in the country. The car is likely to be priced below Rs 30 lakh.

He said the A3 would be priced slightly higher than the small premium cars of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 1 series.

“Ideally, the A3 will fit between the compact up-end hatchback and the entry premium up-end segment. The A3 sedan will, in fact, open a new customer segment in the country and bring more fans into the Audi family,” he said.

According to experts, the company will be able to keep the price tag of the A3 low because of increased localisation and the presence of the local assembling plant. It could be the most economically priced Audi in India.

Rival Mercedes Benz has also planned a number of launches in the coming months. According to sources, Mercedes will bring in mid-size crossover SUV — the ML63 AMG — in May. It will roll out its high-performance executive sedan the CLA 45 AMG in June.

The company may also bring in a compact SUV which will compete with the Range Rover Evoque.

BMW is planning to launch its third-generation X5 SUV possibly by next month.

The German car maker recently launched its most expensive car in India — the M6 Gran Coupe for Rs 1.75 crore.

Powered by a twin turbocharged 4.4-litre petrol engine, the M6 Gran Coupe competes with the Audi RS7 priced at Rs 1.3 crore, Mercedes CLS63 AMG at Rs 1.2 crore and the Jaguar XKR-S at Rs 1.3 crore.

BMW will also launch its first hybrid sports car i8 later this year, which may be priced at around Rs 2 crore.

Premium car makers are bullish about India as growth in this segment continues to defy the slowdown that has gripped the auto industry.

These car companies had posted strong sales during the three months ended March.

Audi India recorded its best quarterly sales at 2,740 units, an increase of 4 per cent over the year-ago period when it sold 2,616 units.

Mercedes-Benz India reported a 27 per cent increase at 2,554 units from 2,009 units a year ago.

 
 
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