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German luxury carmaker Audi has stated that it is looking into assembling its eTron lineup of electric cars in India. However, Audi India has stated that the current tax regime which puts high markers on luxury cars and imported EVs along with the uncertainty about government policy are hindrances to getting investment into the country.
Speaking to the Times of India, Audi India head Balbir Singh Dhillon said, "We are bullish on the Indian car market, and also electric vehicles. But we need stability in policy. If the policy is not stable, it is impossible to plan and justify investment needs when talking to our headquarters in Germany."
Audi had switched gears with regards to its strategy in India after April 2020. Since then, Audi along with the rest of the Volkswagen Group in India had ditched diesel for petrol and electrification.
Audi, in particular, has since then bought in three of its EV offerings into India. The trio of the e-tron SUV, e-tron Sportback and the e-tron GT, the last of which is the most powerful Audi ever to hit the road, are all priced at over Rs 1 crore in the Indian market.
This is due to the high import duties on luxury cars and EVs, something rivals like Mercedes and the incoming Tesla have all flagged as problematic.
To beat this Audi has started exploratory work to assemble electric vehicles in India as the taxes on locally assembled cars are a lot lower. Dhillon told the Times of India that investments can be made as part of the larger VW Group, though it may take more time to come through.
Dhillon also claimed that the high tax rates are causing the luxury segment to underperform as the customers of luxury car buyers are generally in the highest income tax bracket and end up having to give off more tax when buying luxury vehicles. The Audi India Head told the Times of India, "The luxury segment in India is about 1-1.5 per cent of the broader passenger vehicles market. This is very low and needs to grow. We need some support from policy-makers."
The Audi e-tron EV lineup in India starts with the e-tron SUV which starts at around Rs 1 crore ex-showroom. The SUV is offered in two guises with the less powerful 50 quattro variant churning out 308bhp and 540Nm of torque. The more powerful 55 quattro spec cranks out 355bhp and 561Nm of torque and can sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds. The e-tron lineup has a range of 369-441 kilometres on a single charge (WLTP).
The second vehicle in the e-tron India lineup is the e-tron Sportback. The e-tron Sportback produces 402bhp and 664Nm of peak torque from its dual-motor setup. The range of this crossover vehicle is 484 kilometres on a single charge.
The final car in the e-tron lineup is e-tron GT. The e-tron GT is available in two guises - e-tron GT S with 523bhp and 630Nm of peak torque and the RS e-tron GT, the most powerful Audi to ever hit the road. The RS e-tron GT's dual-motor setup kicks out 637bhp and 830Nm of peak torque.
Thoughts On Audi's Plans to Assemble EVs in India
Audi's decision to look into assembling its EV lineup in India should come as good news for luxury electric car buyers in the country. Hopefully, if this does get approval from Germany, we could see more VW Group EVs make their way here as well.