Audi India will launch its least priced product for the Indian car market, the A3 luxury sedan, in the middle of this year. Showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, the A3 sedan marks the German luxury marque’s entry into the steadily expanding entry-level luxury car market of the country, which currently plays host to the likes of the Mercedes Benz A-Class and B-Class car models, and the BMW 1-Series hatchback.
In order to compete with entry level luxury cars from BMW and Mercedes Benz, the Audi A3 sedan is likely to be priced close to the 20 lakh rupees mark. However, given its sedan body style, the A3 sedan is likely to be positioned slightly above the BMW 1-Series and the Mercedes Benz A-Class hatchbacks. The car will be the first Audi product to hop onto the Volkswagen group’s MQB platform. This platform will eventually play host to more Audi cars in the future.
Interestingly, Audi shares its Indian production facility at Aurangabad, Maharashtra, with Skoda, another Volkswagen group car maker. With Skoda already bringing the first MQB platform based car to India, in the form of the 2013 Octavia sedan, the production facility at Aurangabad is now set to welcome another MQB model, this time from Audi. Right from the outset, the A3 sedan will be assembled through the completely knocked down (CKD) kit route.
This also means that Audi is looking at a hotly competitive price tag for the A3 sedan right from the word go. The car features turbo petrol and turbo diesel engine options. The 1.8 liter TSI turbo petrol motor, configured for MQB platform use, outputs 180 Bhp-250 Nm, while the 2 liter TDI turbo diesel motor delivers 148 Bhp-320 Nm. Both engines will get dual clutch automatic gearboxes as standard in India. A front wheel drive layout will be standard on both petrol and diesel variants.
Entry level luxury cars, where do they fit in?
Luxury cars have always been a statement of one having arrived in life. With the economies of the emerging markets spawning a young, nouveau rich crowd, more and more young people want to be seen in luxury automotive labels that have been standard fare in the developed world.
By lowering the price of luxury, by making previously un-affordable cars affordable, car makers have now made buying a luxury car that much more easier. While entry-level luxury cars translate into big boosts at the hustings in terms of sales, they also are aimed at nurturing younger car buyers into becoming fans and brand ambassadors for the luxury label, a move that is expected have a profound, long term effect for luxury car buying patterns.
A buyer who buys an Audi A3 at the age of 30-35 is expected to stick to the brand if the car buying and owning experience is top notch. By 60, the Audi A3 buyer is expected to have run through about a dozen new Audis. It is with this eye on the future that luxury car labels from across the world are targeting the young, swish set.