November 26, 2012: Owning an Audi is going to become easier and more affordable now. The Volkswagen Group-owned brand is expected to roll out its exclusive pre-owned car programme called ‘Audi Approved Plus’ by December-end for the first time in India since the marque’s entry in March 2007.
According to sources, Audi Approved Plus showrooms will house about 8-10 Audis that will, on an average, be around 4-5 years old. According to a Gurgaon-based Audi dealer, a basic 2009 model A4 diesel saloon will cost anywhere between Rs 18-19 lakh in the Audi pre-owned outlets compared to Rs 30.10 lakh for a brand-new model. Authorised Audi dealers are planning to open the pre-owned outlets adjacent to the new ones or in the vicinity in various cities including Gurgaon.
This news comes close on the heels of a price increase announced on November 15 when Audi India confirmed a price increase of up to 5 percent across its model range from January 1, 2013. “The overall market scenario is challenging. The rise in input cost, depreciating rupee as well as continuous increase in fuel prices have made us re-evaluate our pricing strategy in India and increase the prices of the entire range. However, we are offering the customers customised and innovative finance options from Audi Finance which will make their purchase more attractive,” said Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India.
At present the carmaker offers 12 models in India –the A4, A6, A7 Sportback, A8L, Q3, Q5, Q7, S4, RS5 Coupé, TT Coupé, and the R8 and R8 Spyder supercars.
BMW and Merc already in the business
Meanwhile, BMW India is all set to grow its pre-owned car business ‘BMW Premium Selection’ that was launched last November. The luxury carmaker’s seven pre-owned car outlets at Gurgaon, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad currently have the 3- and 5-series saloons besides the X1 SUV on sale. These models can be had at a 20 percent lower price than the new cars, depending on their mileage and age, says Philipp von Sahr, president BMW Group India. He, however, clarifies that no clear price policy rules in the BMW Premium Selection outlets with the dealer invoicing the cars.
Interestingly, all BMW Premium Selection vehicles go through a comprehensive 360-degree check and are completely refurbished technically and visually. All cars selected under this pre-owned car programme are less than five years old and would have clocked under 120,000km. Vehicles come with up to 24 month/200,000km warranty (whichever is earlier). BMW Premium Selection car owners also have the option of taking BMW India roadside assistance which is available 24x7.
In fact, BMW India has carved out a clear-cut strategy for BMW Premium Selection. A dedicated team of specially trained technical and sales professionals has been appointed by BMW for its pre-owned car business for which financing options are on offer by BMW Financial Services.
“After the customer has driven the new BMW for 2-3 years, he comes back for a new car and then the used car goes into the BMW Premium Selection outlet,” adds Sahr, saying the BMW Premium Selection sales are lower than new car sales “because we have to first build up a certain stock for this business and become more known.”
Mercedes-Benz, the first luxury car brand to enter India in 1996, opened its Proven Exclusivity pre-owned outlets in June 2010. At present, it has 72 touch-points in 31 cities with 31 showrooms and 41 workshops. The luxury carmaker plans to add 10-15 new touchpoints each year in line with the company’s growth strategy in this segment. This could include upgradation of existing showrooms or setting up of new ones, according to company sources.
Mercedes’ Proven Exclusivity showrooms currently display the C, E, GL and ML-class models with prices depending on the age and mileage. Through the pre-owned car programme, customers can now buy a Mercedes-Benz from a price range of Rs 15-18 lakh against Rs 31-34 lakh for a new entry-level C-class. Another feature of the ‘Proven Exclusivity’ programme is that Mercedes only offers cars that are not more than six years old.
Audi on a high on the new car front
Among the German luxury carmakers, Audi has registered handsome growth, dislodging Mercedes- Benz from its number two position while BMW remains the leader. “We are confident of surpassing the 2012 sales target of 8,000 units even before the year comes to an end,” said Perschke. The marque registered total sales of 850 units in October 2012, posting strong growth of 76 percent over the same period last year (October 2011: 482 units).
Audi grew 55 percent YTD with 7,267 vehicles sold between January and October 2012 compared to 4,692 units sold in January-October 2011. In comparison, BMW sold 7,389 units in the first 10 months of 2012.
In the current fiscal year (2012-13), as per SIAM data, Audi has sold 5,174 units compared to 3,381 units in the year ago period, recording an increase of 53 percent.
Meanwhile, BMW with sales of 5,174 units between April-October 2012 is down 12 percent on its sales of 5,895 units in April-October 2011. Mercedes-Benz’s sales too are down by 10 percent: 3,651 units in April-October 2012 versus 4,055 units in the year-ago period.