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Audi Q3 compact SUV, BMW 3 Series, new Mercedes-Benz B Class sports tourer: Indian luxury auto market launches

Sales of BMW and Audi may soon be at quite an arm’s distance in regards to Mercedes Benz in the Indian luxury auto market. Mercedes Benz is close to being relegated to third spot for a long time, while Audi and BMW are fighting closely for top spot. MB though has chosen an opportune moment to add to their vehicle portfolio in India. The company’s media drive for the new B Class sports tourer takes place tomorrow, and it’s only a matter of time until launch date.

The main reason for reshuffle of top spot luxury automaker contenders is the fact that Audi sales have increased by 52.15% in the past three months of this fiscal. According to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) sales of Audi have reached 1908 units during the first three months of this fiscal as compared to 1254 units in the same period in the previous year. Conversely sales of BMW declined by 12.16% to 2088 units as compared to 2377 units in the last corresponding period.

Mercedes Benz endured 24.41% sales decline with 1257 units sold in the first three months of this fiscal as compared to 1663 units in April to June 2011. June 2012 saw Audi sell 759 vehicles with BMW following close with 750 units sold. Mercedes Benz came in 3rd with 622 vehicles sold marking a sales growth having sold 566 units in June 2011.

If the German luxury auto majors follow this trend, it will not be long before Audi overtakes BMW leaving Mercedes Benz a close third which is what the company has predicted for the year 2014.

The Audi Q3 compact luxury SUV launched less than 50 days ago has certainly done a great job in terms of sales volume for the Volkswagen Group luxury automaker in India. A launch price of Rs. 26,21,000 and a higher end Audi Q3 luxury SUV priced at Rs 31,49,000 onwards (Ex-showroom Maharashtra) saw the first 500 units being lapped up in 5 days since the order books opened.

Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India, said “The A3 sedan is the volume product expected after the Q3 and will be assembled in India to have competitive price point. India is a marathon where you need to keep up stamina to retain your position. We have a clear product plan till 2019, which takes into account most of our competition. If everything goes according to our strategy, we will become the market leader by 2014”.

This apart, India also awaits the Q2 crossover SUV and A1 sedan from Audi. This week BMW has announced the launch of the all-new BMW 3 Series on 27 July 2012. This leaves one waiting for the  BMW entry level 1 Series by end of this year which will further escalate competition. Launches in new vehicle segments will allow the concerned automakers to tap into new buyer markets, and that’s where the new Mercedes-Benz B Class sports tourer plays an important role.

BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 Crossover are already known names here, and the expected Mercedes Benz B Class Sports Tourer Hatchback launch by 2012 end will add to competition. With expected price below Rs.25 lakhs, the entry level price point could work wonders. However, one is left wishing that the launch date is a lot quicker than proposed to give Mercedes Benz a better footing to consolidate sales volume. Are you willing to B?

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