With clients like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Bipasha Basu, German luxury car maker Audi has a vital target market in film stars and is looking at a 50 per cent growth in India this year.
“Quite a few Bollywood stars have picked up Audi cars in India. Whether it is Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan or Katrina Kaif — each of them has one Audi parked in their garage,” Martin Birkner, marketing head of Audi in India, told IANS.
“I won’t say they make a major market for us, but they certainly are an important market for Audi, at least in Mumbai.”
According to Birkner, Salman is the latest to buy the car — he bought an Audi A8, while Neil Nitin Mukesh owns Q7, a recently launched SUV by Audi. A Q7 can cost anything from Rs.63 laks to Rs.76 lakhs. An Audi A8 ranges from Rs.71 lakhs to Rs.1 crore in India.
Among actresses, Bipasha pampered herself with the luxury vehicle, he said.
The company currently offers a bouquet of seven cars, including sedans, SUVs, coupe and sports cars. It is considering launching more models in the coming years.
“In 2008, we sold 1,050 cars in India and we have a revised target of 1,600 cars by the end of 2009. We have had considerable growth since last year, so we are projecting a nearly 50 percent growth this time,” he said.
He said Asia is fast emerging as a strong customer base for the company but still has time to get used to premium and luxury cars.
“We are the segment leaders in Europe and our sales there are currently stagnating. But we see that the Asian region is still not fully developed in the sense that even though there is a huge amount of cars here, not many people go for luxury or premium cars,” said Birkner.
To promote the brand, Audi India has been partnering with Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) for the last four seasons.
This year they are displaying Q7 and sports car Audi R8, which is one of the most popular models, at the ongoing fashion and luxury event being held at Pragati Maidan here. A toy car, which costs Rs.11 lakh, is also catching people’s fancy.
Birkner, who has come from Mumbai to attend the event, said WIFW provides an ideal platform for them to meet “right and influential” people who can become potential buyers.
“Such events provide a perfect platform to meet people who are interested in premium cars. So we get a chance to build the right contacts here,” he said.
Earlier this month, Audi organised an amateur golf tournament called Quattro Cup. This was the second tournament sponsored by the company and the finals were held in Hyderabad and the winners will be taken to Sydney in December.