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Audi says no-no to small car

autos Updated: Apr 05, 2009 20:19 IST
Suprotip Ghosh
Suprotip Ghosh
Hindustan Times
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At a time when many car makers are eyeing a small car launch in India, Audi, the world’s second largest maker of luxury cars, has decided not to jump into the game in the country with its small car, the A1.

“The A1 is an owner-driven car, and while it is coming in Europe by next year, there are no plans of launching it in India,” said Benoit Tiers, managing director, Audi India, on Saturday on the sidelines of a company event.

While the A1 would be launched a year before the Nano Europa is launched by Tata Motors, Audi says there just isn’t any demand among luxury car buyers in India.

Of late, Hyundai, Suzuki, have held global launches of their small cars in India, besides, of course, Tata Motors.

“For example, the Nano is not a luxury car. Besides, when we speak to our customers here, they all say they want space and luxury for the price they are paying. That is why we are launching the Q5, which is easier to park than the larger Q7,” Tiers said.

The A1 concepts, which were displayed at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show and the 2008 Paris Motors show, are small cars.

However, despite the dimensions, they are targeted at the discerning self-driving buyer, Tiers said.

The Q5, a small SUV of the dimensions of the Honda CR-V, is to be launched in June. This would come after the new version of the luxury sedan, the A6, is launched in a month's time, he said.

“The new A6 will be launched in a few weeks, while the Q5, smaller and cheaper than the Q7, would be launched by middle of the year,” Tiers said.

The company, which sold 160 cars in March, expects India's market to be one of the fastest luxury car markets to recover.

However, as the market grows, there are possibilities of other models, such as the hatchback A3, coming in, Tiers said.