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‘There has been a dramatic shift to petrol cars’
Rahil Ansari, Head of Audi India, was in Greater Noida recently to meet with customers ahead of the Audi Sportscar Experience. He took some time out to have a chat with Kushan Mitra. Excerpts:
Are events like the Audi Sportscar Experience a good way to connect with your customers?
Indeed, and not just for us, it allows our customers and potential customers to interact with each other and makes a massive difference for the brand. We also recently had the finals of the Audi Quattro Cup, our annual golf tournament in Hua Hin, Thailand. It was great to see all the competitors mingling and talking to each other and promoting the brand. It is important that our customers also become our brand ambassadors and events like these help that process.
How has 2018 been so far in terms of sales, as your rivals have had record-setting sales so far this year?
Honestly, the first half has not been all that exciting for us but we expect the second half to be much better as we have a more robust line-up. In the first half one problem we faced was that we did not have enough availability of petrol models, particularly on the new Q5 which has been corrected now, so things should pick up.
Are petrol engines coming back into fashion?
Yes, for a couple of reasons. The first is obviously the ten-year rule in the National Capital Region. The second is that we have been aggressively communicating that the total cost of ownership of a petrol powered car is lower than a diesel-powered car. A few years ago, 90 percent of our sales were diesel cars, that number is today below 70 percent. On certain models petrol engines are closer to 40 percent of demand. Take the Q3 for example, the petrol engine option offers great value for money for people choosing to get into the brand as well as luxury. I expect this trend to continue.
What about performance cars like the RS5 and the R8?
Demand for these cars is of course limited, but even with those limited numbers demand for these products in India has been very robust. I believe Audi has established itself as a leader in this segment, products like the S5 and RS5 give owners an exhilarating experience without them needing to break the bank.
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