Swedish luxury carmaker Volvo Auto will roll out its V40 Cross Country sedan in India by June to give a run for the money to competitors like BMW, Audi and Mercedes in the cross over sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment.
"The luxury car segment in India is picking up speed and poised to grow faster in the coming years as the automobile industry matures and its users go for upward mobility," Volvo Auto India managing director Tomas Ernberg told reporters here Friday.
Volvo will ship its much-awaited V40 hatchback as a completely built unit from its plants in Belgium or Germany and will be pitted against competing brands like BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes A Class.
"Cross Country will come with two engine options - 1.6-liter petrol and 2.0-liter diesel but will not have the all-wheel drive technology," Ernberg said on the margins of a company event here.
In the run-up to the June launch, the subsidiary will display the Cross Country model at its dozen showrooms in metros across the country and park a couple of them for test drives by auto experts and select clients for feedback.
Though Volvo is well known in India for its luxury buses and trucks in the transport sector over a decade, its luxury cars have been snapping up at the wheels to make a difference in the up-market segment.
"Making a modest foray into India five years ago, we have been growing steadily to penetrate the luxury car segment, which still accounts for only one percent of the total automobile market in India," Ernberg said after unveiling Volvo's first dealership -- Martial Motors Ltd in this tech hub to service its premium customers.
While automakers had a bumpy ride in 2012 due to economic slowdown, high interest rates and negative sentiments, Volvo Auto had a dream run with a whopping 150 percent year-on-year (YoY) sales growth over 2011.
"We sold 821 cars in 2012 as against 320 in 2011. The anticipated turnaround will enable us to clock 1,100 units this year, which will be a 35 percent increase YoY," Ernberg asserted.
The subsidiary retails four luxury models in the Indian market - Volvo XC90, a seven-seater luxury SUV, Volvo XC60, a compact luxury SUV, Volvo S80, an elegant sedan and Volvo S60, a sporty sedan.
The models are priced in the range of Rs3.5-6.7 million.
The southern market accounts for 55% of the company's sales in India.
"South (India) is an important market for us and our presence in Bangalore signifies the potential of luxury cars in the region. Though we are not in the mass market of compact cars, our long-term strategy is stay invested in the luxury segment, which is poised to grow steadily in the coming years," Ernberg observed.