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Old 12th March 2019, 13:46   #31
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Here's another one that might be contributing in a smaller way. I know some people who - for a variety of reasons - didn't want a Mercedes or BMW and went with an Audi. That customer now has many other options, including the resurgent Volvo, brand-new Lexus and of course, Jaguar-Land Rover.
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Old 12th March 2019, 14:41   #32
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

The Indian luxury market is not that big as in say China, perhaps one city or even a dealer in Shanghai/Beijing would be doing as much biz as India.

I think Audi gets cannibalized by half priced yet similarly spec'ed cousins Skoda/VW, for eg., Q3 by Tiguan, A3/A4 by Octy, A6 by Passat/Superb, Q7 by Kodiaq, etc.,

When I was in the market 5 yrs ago upgrading from Octy vRS mk1, I looked at Q3/A4 but came back with a half priced Jetta, now when I look at an upgrade 5 yrs later on, I would want a new and fresh experience outside the VAG family so has many others owning the Jetta upgraded to BMW's on this forum.

I repented buying a Jetta or my old Octy whenever going for the annual service jostling for a slot with the volumes (Polo/Vento/Rapid's), but have always returned contended with the half the service cost...
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Old 12th March 2019, 15:03   #33
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Before I bought my X3, the closest option at that time was the Q5. Both were equally fun to drive and close in most parameters.

However, I tend to shy away from Audi, cause most of their advertisements are about the price. Here in Tamil Nadu, I am always seeing advertisements like Q3 at 29.99 lakhs Q5 at 39.99 etc, etc. And when someone calls them the model is not available.

The point is that if you are a premium brand, don't do a 10.99 lakh price advertisement, and diminish the value of the brand. Better to advertise on merits. This is especially true when you don't have a vehicle available for the price you are advertising at.
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Old 12th March 2019, 17:11   #34
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Apart from the same old looks which is a problem as many have mentioned, Audi has been downsizing their engines as well. A 1.4TSi engine in a 50L car is simply not done. While the Octavia comes with 1.8TSi and VRS with a 2.0TSi, a 1.4TSi in A4 is a joke.

When I was in the market for a new car before my BMW 330i GT, Audi A4 was not even in my list mainly due to the 1.4TSi engine. Had they brought the 2.0TSi engine in the A4, it could have been a contender.
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Old 12th March 2019, 19:39   #35
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

I think there are more than a couple of reasons for their failure to retain market share in the recent years-
  • The bread and butter models, namely the A3 and Q3 have now been on the decline due to the SUV trend which is going on globally and better crossovers being launched by other less premium brands for the same price and frankly, more VFM (Skoda Kodiaq, VW Tiguan etc.)
  • Lack of a USP in their range- No Audi till 70 lakhs has a significant USP now including the A6 and Q5. The A6, when launched was mostly relying on its tech to drive the sales. That has vanished now that the competition has caught up and even surpassed it. The Q5 on the other hand, seems more of a facelift than a generation change and that doesn't seem to have gone down well with customers
  • Similarity with other lesser VAG cars- The A3 is no more than a glorified Octavia and that doesn't help in it feeling 'special' which is what the entry level luxury market mainly relies on. Then there was also the launch of the Skoda vRS where you got the same amount of kit and much better performance for about the same price.
  • No new launches- Audi hasn't launched a new model since the Q5 which itself was more of a facelift than a redesign. The new A6 and A8 are also long overdue but still not in sight in the recent future.

Last edited by aah78 : 12th March 2019 at 21:22. Reason: Typo fixed.
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Old 12th March 2019, 20:11   #36
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Immense interest created and enjoyed by Volvo. IMHO, Volvo is the brand to watch; Remember the famous Audi campaign? "Time to check your luxury badge, it may have expired."

The ever-growing and ever-refreshed model lineup of Mercedes, incl at least one swanky and some age-neutral SUVs for the young generation.

Not exactly premium in terms of performance.I took a TD in X3 top-end variant and in Q3 top-end. Sorry Q3 owners, it's like Apple Safari vs IE8.

As many have mentioned, most Audi models and their variants look the same for the laymen.

Unlike 2014, some Hyundai models now have (almost) the same side profile, grille design, air dams, alloys, ORVMs and LED DRLs with the same color temperature.

Many VW/Skoda models carry Audi parts as OEM, this makes owners of these cars a bit proud but it also cheapens the Audi brand value.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 12th March 2019 at 20:17.
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Old 12th March 2019, 22:20   #37
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

As a new Q5 owner and a previously VW owner, I do admit that I considered the X3 and the XC60 before I considered the Audi. It took a lot of objective decision-making to land at the Audi. It wasnt an easy choice. Why? Two reasons

1. The BMW aura is very strong - Only when I was completely honest to myself could I admit that there wasn't much of a difference between the X3 and Q5 when driving the two cars.

2. The VW aura is very strong - my previous Jetta and the Q5 are worlds apart in terms of the car they are, but its so easy to believe that an Audi is just a slightly fancier VW that you stop comparing it objectively within the segment.

Back to the issue at hand - Audi is just not refreshing things in the market enough. When even the new cars look like the old cars, and there are so few new cars, there is no reason to be excited about the brand. One of the reasons I heard from a birdie about why this is happening - their plants need to be rejigged substantially to support the latest platforms, and so they arent in a position to assemble the latest models domestically. A CBU strategy for the new A6, Q3 etc would be dead on arrival. If this is the case, they are in a deep hole which will take a long time to repair. They might as well begin with deeply discounted CBUs rather than losing market traction.

Last edited by Aurum : 12th March 2019 at 22:23.
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Old 13th March 2019, 01:10   #38
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Two words. Design Language. Look at the Audis of 2008-12 or thereabouts and Audis of now. Those 'string of pearls' lights and well proportioned panels are superior anyday to just confused cuts and creases of today.

Current models in their evolutionary avatars have lost the individuality of what Audis of yore used to be. And it is true from the base A4 to the their flagship RS models. I can stare at the sculpture that the RS5 of 2010-13 was for hours but would get an eyesore looking at the current gen. Everything from the wheels to the lights were sheer artistry on the previous model. Such a stark contrast.

Last edited by octane1002 : 13th March 2019 at 01:14.
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Old 13th March 2019, 04:29   #39
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

I think this decline is due to multiple factors -

1. Cars from the same group i.e. VW and Skoda are offering better value for money than Audi

2. Audi is not investing in brand building anymore like they used to do in 2012-13. Did they get complacent?

3. Mercedes has become very aggressive after years of being in a dormant mode in India

4. Not enough innovation in cars compared to the new entries like Volvo. The Audis are looking boring and ageing in front of competition.
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Old 13th March 2019, 05:45   #40
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
At one time, Audi was confident, aggressive & a sales champion. It was also the no.1 luxury car brand in some years.

However, Audi today is a shadow of its former self.
Some reasons in my opinion are as follows:-

1. Way overpriced A3.

2. All siblings look almost identical.

3. Q5 and Q7 aren’t “massive enough” anymore for the brutal Indian roads. An Endeavour or Fortuner shows much more muscle. BMW has already started taking corrective action by gradually upsizing their steeds.

4. Interiors of Mercedes and now even BMWs’ have become much more tasteful compared to Audis’.

5. The tactic of putting an underpowered engine option in the same body shell drives away the customer who can spend more for the full powered top version engine. He simply buys a Mercedes.

6. After Sales Service experience and some quality issues drove away a large chunk of customers. Audi is no more perceived as a no hassle ownership brand anymore, which Mercedes still is, in India.

7. For the serious buyer, Audi brand appears as a brand catering to needs of youngsters and first time luxury buyers. So, he prefers a Mercedes or a BMW.

8. Reemergence of Volvo as a safe, solid and no nonsense luxury vehicle with modern styling has also given lot of headwinds to Audi.

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Old 13th March 2019, 11:13   #41
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Originally Posted by wanderingwolf View Post
Some reasons in my opinion are as follows:-

2. All siblings look almost identical.
Its not just the siblings that look identical, the entire family appears to be identical on the interiors. Was helping out a friend with narrowing down car choices, the Audi line up did nothing to convince us they were as luxurious as the competition. Especially on the Q3 and A4 petrol choices were uninspiring. The interiors reminded me of the Octavia, especially the lower end plastics and the Q3 makes you think that you would be better off in the Kodiaq. Though these are in different classes I cannot understand how the Q3 offers anything of value, save for the badge.
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Old 13th March 2019, 11:51   #42
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

The chart on "Ranking" is quite interesting in that it shows that all the 3 manufacturers have been achieving a rotational podium performance , atleast till 2015.

If we follow the numbers over the past few years, then some significant inflection points stand out (coupled with some industry developments and hypothesis):-
  • 2015 - Mercedes launched 15 new products with fresh designs, thereby spiking their YoY growth to 32%. Needless to day, it may be also attributed to some refreshed strategy of product mix, financing, branding etc.
    Since BMW and Audi didn't lose much this year, it could be extrapolated (in hindsight) that Mercedes had pure net additions (new customers)
  • 2016 - On the back of the new launches by Mercedes in the previous year, customers in 2016 now were possibly attracted more towards it, potentially impacting Audi in that it's potential customer base now switched to Mercedes. This probably affected Audi's sales charts and it saw de-growth of 31% this year
  • 2016 - the overall market fell by 8% this year, possibly due to demonetization hitting outright cash purchases in the luxury segment for the last 2 months of the financial year
  • 2018 - again a very bad year for Audi, wherein it witnessed 18% de-growth. Primarily attributed to the closure of Delhi-NCR largest dealership and also due to lack of any major launches/refreshes. Added to its woes were a resurgent Volvo with new product launches and a vibrant JLR with its attractive and flexible financing strategies, thereby potentially luring the first-time buyer/new customers towards it.
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Old 13th March 2019, 12:10   #43
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

The existing Audi products are no longer "cutting edge" stuff. Indeed, I have heard several prospective buyers describe Audi's as glorified VW's.

After the VW emissions scandal, Audi got all paranoid and organisational focus shifted to course correcting the same including focusing more on China. Added to that was the new WLTP norms for Europe which had to be met.
India, well, sort of, "fell off the radar".

Discounting has killed Audi as a brand in India. Even before test drives etc, prospective customers, even over phone, asks the AUDI dealer, how much "off" will he get on a particular model of his choice. And the dealer usually capitulates, which opens the door for further rebates.

Volvo. I know, at least, 3 AUDI customers who have switched brands to the Swede. Volvo's new crop of cars are not to be underrated at all. Distinctive designs, excellent interiors and an impeccable safety attributes are drawing the well heeled slowly in the Swede's fold.

Dealers. Not only North India. In Eastern India too, things are not looking good. The Kolkata dealer who owns multiple franchises of Audi, Nissan-Datsun, Porsche, Mahindra and Hyundai is in deep financial distress. Unconfirmed rumours huge fund misappropriations.
Apparently, Mahindra, sensing that things are going awry, has already pulled the plug and it is only a matter of time before some hard decisions are taken by the other OEM's.
Whatever it is, it will definitely not help AUDI's cause in East.

Audi needs a full overhaul of itself in India. Its losing streak is a mix of product, organisational strategies and dealer related issues. It cannot be solved by the India head alone. The problems are serious enough to warrant an intervention, maybe by their global HQ, and arrive at a long term solution. The dealer franchises, across Indian cities, needs to strongly audited and, if need be, hard decisions taken. Once the basics are refurbished and put in place, the new products will - hopefully - support the OEM to recover lost ground, partially, if not wholly.
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Old 13th March 2019, 13:25   #44
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

Lets not forget that the diesel gate has take a lot of resources and time away from Audi. It has been in fire fighting mode for more than 4 years and has caused considerable churn in the company. Lets face it, India, while an important future market, is not at the top of their list right now. Solving their legal and technical problems in USA and Europe are their main priorities. Audi has announced a $14 Billion investment in to electric vehicles and future platforms. Such investments take away resources from current development plans. While Porsche has announced that it will stop using Diesel engines in its cars, Audi is still trying make a go at it. There is considerable churn and disruption going on with the group companies. During such times, lesser markets always get left by the wayside.
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Old 13th March 2019, 15:01   #45
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Default Re: Whatever happened to Audi India? Why is the brand struggling since 2016?

First and foremost, I feel Audi India was doing well more because the rivals were on a slumber. Mercedes was living the life of an old man’s chariot and BMW was also not showing any urgency in the market. Once the two rivals woke up (along with Volvo added into the mix), Audi started feeling the heat.

And if you look at the different segments Audi is playing in, the slump is expected to continue. IMO, there is no USP for any of their current line-up.
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