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Luxury car sales to remain subdued this year too

Wednesday, 8 January 2014 - 12:43pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
But one forecast sees 2014 sales touching 50,000 units, up 56% from 32,000 in 2013.

Like in 2013, sales of luxury cars may continue to crawl this year on account of April-May elections and the continuing slowdown.

According to industry players, the segment is expected to grow no more than 7-8% in 2014. That would be comparable to growth in 2013 that saw sales of 32,000 units, up from 28,000 units sold in 2012.

Joe King, head, Audi India, said, “It won’t be a booming growth. This being an election year, we might see some slowdown.”

Audi India, which closed 2013 as the largest-selling luxury carmaker with sales of 10,002 units, expects growth in volumes despite volatility in the luxury segment. “We will surely cross the 10,000 mark in 2014 as well. We do have our internal growth targets. However, it’s difficult to give a number in a volatile market,” said King.

Backed by new launches, Mercedes India closed 2013 with a growth of 32%, selling 9,003 units between January and December, compared to 6,840 units sold in 2012.

BMW India is yet to announce to its annual sales numbers.

Though the first half will see some pressure on volume growth due to elections, experts believe that the second half could be robust for the segment.

As per a forecast of IHS Automotive, sales of luxury cars could touch 50,000 mark in 2014.

“We may reduce our target by a few thousands as carmakers may look at delaying their plans due to unstable political scenario, if any,” said Puneet Gupta, associate director, IHS Automotive Sales Forecasting.

The segment clocked a significant chunk of volumes from entry-level vehicles priced between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh in 2013, driven by new launches like the Mercedes’s A-Class and BMW’s 1 series hatchbacks.

“We expect an additional volume of 15,000 units coming from the entry level segment which would include sedans, compact sports utility vehicles and hatchbacks. This segment will further get expanded with new launches being planned by carmakers,” said Gupta.

Audi is expected to introduce A3 sedan with aggressive pricing this year, while Mercedes will launch its CLA sedan. “Both these models can generate an additional volume of 2,500 units each,” feels Gupta. “Once the local assembly of cars like A-Class begins, it would further boost the market.”

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