German automobile company Audi expects the Indian luxury car market to remain flat next year and growth to come in only in 2021, having gone through a challenging 2019. The company, which is set to kick off 2020 with the launch of its flagship SUV Q8 in January followed by a new version of A8 sedan in February, is cautiously optimistic about the year that will mark the transition to stricter emission norm BS-VI. "In terms of growth estimates for the luxury car market, we estimate it to remain flat in 2020 and we are hopeful of positive growth starting 2021," Audi India Head Balbir Singh Dhillon said.
Indian luxury car market, comprising the top five players, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, JLR and Volvo, witnessed a total sales of 40,340 units in 2018 and is expected to see a decline in 2019. The companies are, however, yet to release their up to date sales data. "2019 was a challenging year for the automotive industry, thereby building the pressure on new car sales," Dhillon said. The company has launched Audi A4 Quick-lift, Audi Q7 Black-edition and all-new Audi A6 this year.
Apart from the current situation of the economy affecting consumer sentiments, carmakers are cautious about the impact of increased prices due to the transition to BS-VI from BS-IV. "Effective April 1, 2020, India will take a leap into BS-VI from BS-IV at present, driving all manufacturers to make adjustments to their product offerings in India and so will we," he said about the challenge.
Reiterating that 2020 is an important year for Audi, Dhillon said, "We remain focused on the India market. Under our 'Strategy 2025' goals, we will remain focused on customer centricity and network sustainability". Expressing optimism about 2020, he said Audi "will kick start the year with the launch of the Audi Q8 in January followed by the Audi A8 in February and other new products that will set the tone for the year."