Audi plans to launch A8 L Security in India
The model could cost around Rs 5 crore, and the first vehicle is likely to be delivered this year.
New Delhi: German auto major Audi is eyeing to enter the high-end armoured car market in India with its A8 L Security model that could cost around Rs 5 crore, and the first vehicle is likely to be delivered this year.
The company, which had showcased the car that can withstand attacks from AK-47s and hand grenades to select guests during the recently concluded Auto Expo here, is understood to have already received about 20 enquiries from the government and top corporate honchos of the country.
According to sources close to the development, Audi is likely to deliver the first A8 L Security in India within next 4-6 months and it is tagged around Rs 5 crore.
"This is a very niche product and is for only a few select persons like top government officials and heads of business groups. Any possible deal is directly handled by the security division of Audi from Germany," a source said.
During the Auto Expo earlier this month, the company has received about "20 active enquiries" from some government departments and top businessmen of the country, the source said, adding Audi is in the process of evaluating the requests at present.
When contacted, Audi India officials declined to comment on any such development.
The sources, however, said Audi has ruled out making the vehicle available to normal customers.
"It will always be very selective sale. Audi is also eyeing defence, para-military and police forces in India," the source said.
The car is completely customised with security gadgets and the price will vary according to specifications that are put in place on requests of individuals.
"The car will be handed over to owners as a fully imported model. Although nobody can say the price for sure at this moment, but it is guessed at around Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore," another source said.
The Audi A8 L Security is manufactured at a dedicated high-security production facility in Germany in order to maintain comprehensive secrecy of the entire process.
Audi AG uses many premium and strong materials such as high-strength steel, aramid fibre, ceramic, multi-layer glass and a special aluminium alloy. The car carries an armoured box for the vehicle and communication electronics.
"The underbody has blast protection and anti-magnetic armour plating. Just to give an example of how solid and secure the vehicle is, only one door of the car weighs about 160 kg," the source said.
The car also has the capacity to protect the passengers from chemical attacks such as poisonous gas, he added.
Rival and compatriot Mercedes Benz and BMW are early movers in the high-end armoured car market in India.
Mercedes Benz already supplies its armoured S-Class cars in the country. In fact, the President of India travels in a Mercedes Benz S600 Pullman Guard luxury saloon. The Indian head of state started using this car last year.
The Indian Prime Minister also travels in the recently acquired armoured BMW 7 Series cars. His Special Protection Group members also escort him in BMW X5 Security Plus cars that are a permanent part of the convoy.