Audi, the premium car brand of the Volkswagen Group , will launch seven new models in India and expand its dealers' network this year, as it looks to increase sales and market share in the luxury car segment of Asia's third-largest economy.
The Volkswagen Group plans to double its component sourcing from India to 700 million euros in this calendar year, head of Audi India operations Michael Perschke told reporters.
In the long run, our expectations are to increase our global sourcing out of India, Perschke said. In terms of cost competitiveness ... India has a strategic advantage.
The Volkswagen Group sources various components from India that include crankshafts for vehicles across its Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda brands.
Global automakers, including Ford Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co and Renault SA, are stepping up sourcing of components from India and investing more in new plants in a race to chase cost-effective manufacturing.
Swedish truck maker Scania AB, also part of the Volkswagen Group, said last month it would invest about $30 million in an assembly plant in southern India, as the company eyes surging growth in large commercial vehicle sales in the country.
Audi currently sells nine models in India, including the R8 Spyder sportscar, and its new launches this year will include the TT roadster and Q3 coupe models, Perschke said.
The company, which competes with BMW and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz in the Indian luxury car market, plans to add 10 dealers to its current network of 15 this year, he said.
Audi sold just over 5,500 cars in India in 2011, and targets sales of 8,000 cars in the current calendar year, in line with luxury car sales growth of around 50 percent in the country.
Spending on luxury cars in India grew 36 percent in 2009-10 to $1 billion, according to a recently released report by AT Kearney, outstripping growth in jewellery, electronics and watches.
Britain's Aston Martin, famously James Bond's car of choice, and Fiat's Italian brands Ferrari and Maserati all opened showrooms in India in 2011.
Despite its fast growth, India's luxury car market lags far behind China, where Mercedes and BMW sold a combined 320,000 vehicles in the first nine months of 2011.