Audi to add 10 new customer touch-points this year

Luxury car maker Audi India is planning to add around 10 customer touch-points this year to complement the proposed 10 launches in the year, which it hopes will help it maintain the pole position in the country.

"We will be increasing our customer touch-points by 15 percent from our current 61 networks spanning 35 cities through a combination of showrooms and service facilities," Audi India head Joe King said.

Despite its late entry in 2007 into the domestic luxury car market, which is dominated by three German brands with Mercedes and BMW at No 2 and No 3 slots, Audi has been the market leader since the past two years. In 2014, its market share stood at 34 percent, which King claimed to be one of the highest for the company in the world.

The Volkswagen group company has already clocked 26 percent rise in sales in the first two months of the year. Last year it sold a record 10,851 units, up over 8 percent from the previous year.

Against this, its immediate rival Mercedes-Benz reported 13 percent rise in sales at 10,201 units last year, closing the gap between the two and has already announced plans to launch 15 models and 15 dealerships this year. BMW India, which was the market leader in 2011, had sold just 6,812 units.

To consolidate its position, Audi plans to launch 10 models this year including new variants and brand new models, King said, adding one of the new launches will be the new TT Coupe and a variant of the A3 Cabriolet. It has already launched the R8 LMX in January.

The company has already expanded the reach by four touch-points -- one each showrooms in Bangalore and Ranchi, a full-fledged Audi Exclusive Service station in Kolkata and one Audi Approved Plus showroom in Kolkata, which is also its seventh pre-owned car showroom, King said.

Audi has been the first to plan dealerships in cities like Udaipur, Ranchi, and Guwahati which will be opened soon, King said, adding a number of the new touch-points will be in the small towns.

Last year, Audi had introduced the A3 sedan and A3 Cabriolet in the country. Its other models include the A6 and A4 sedans and the Q5, Q7 and Q3 sports cars.

The annual capacity at the VW group firm Skoda's Aurangabad plant for all Audi models is over 14,000 units in a one-shift operation, while Merc has just doubled its capacity to 20,000 at its Pune facility.

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