NEW DELHI: Electric is the buzzword for German luxury maker Audi which drove in its first set of green cars in India under the e-tron badging, costing Rs 1 crore and above (ex-showroom), as the company takes on compatriot Mercedes Benz’s EQC and prepares a line-up ahead of Tesla’s entry.
The company is also considering local assembly of electrics in India over the next few years, and the plan would be rolled out jointly with parent Volkswagen and India lead brand Skoda.
Hit hard by stiff competition, Audi had been struggling for volumes in India over the last few years and the problems further compounded after the company decided to move out of diesel last year.
However, with a stable petrol strategy and now a firm eye on electrics, the company – which once was the top luxury seller but now is behind BMW and Mercedes (that leads) — is confident that it will make a comeback.
So, on Thursday, Audi offered three electric SUVs under its e-tron range (e-tron 50, e-tron 55 and e-tron Sportback 55), and these would be priced between Rs 99.9 lakh, and Rs 1.18 crore (ex-showroom).
Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi in India, said that the company will set up nearly 100 charging points across 75 cities, while also looking at setting up infra across major highways and the golden quadrilateral network.
Dhillon said it will take time for the electrics to build-up scale in India, and added that the central government should reduce, or completely do away with, the more than 100% import duty on the greens.
“Yes, the GST rate of 5% is attractive, and some states such as Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra have also done away with registration charges on electrics. However, we need relief on the front of customs duty too.”
The hefty import duty is one of the reasons behind plans for a local production, though he added that this will come only after “sufficient scale” has been achieved in sales. “It is premature to talk about it in the present, though it surely is on the cards in the future.”
Asked whether the company would never get diesels back into India, he said it has “not given up” on the fuel, though there is still no clarity on when it would be re-introduced.

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