Interview: Audi India's Balbir Singh Dhillon on the Audi A6 launch and the E-tron EV
We caught up with Balbir Singh Dhillion, Audi India's new head, on the sidelines of the launch of the new Audi A6 sedan. We spoke to him about the new car, Audi's sales strategy for India and the Audi E-tron EV SUV.
Q: Congratulations on the new car and also, what bookings have you clocked for the A6 already?
A: Well, today we are announcing the price of the car. There has been lot of gathering of prospective buyers across the country. I am not going to announce the number, but there is a lot of anticipation from the customers and cars are just reaching all our customers across the country and we are expecting a very good booking collection in the next few weeks & next few months.
SD: We are in the festive season, so can the potential customers expect some kind of deals from you right now?
Audi India Head: Obviously, we are just launching the car today, so there are no deals on the cars. As I just mentioned before during my presentation as well, we are not here to sell discounts, we don't want to sell cars with a discount. What we want to do for a customer is to offer them value. Wherever they are buying our products, they should be ease of owning these vehicles. So whether we do this from our extended warranty programs or insurance programs, there are so many other things which we bring or we do this with 'Connected Cars'. So the idea is that we sell the cars with a lot of value and with a lot of peace of mind to the customer. We bring the latest technologies to the country. Discounts are past.
SD: You did say that you are going to be focusing on Tier ll and Tier lll cities in terms of dealerships. Are you still planning to expand as well?
A: Our focus is to go into tier ll and tier lll cities with our workshop first approach. So we already have our customers which are spread across the country. But for the ease of ownership of cars will start our operations with the workshop first, this is our approach going to be, followed by the showrooms. When there is sufficient potential existing in different markets we will also come up with showrooms. But most important for me is that our customers are taken care off and this will be done through our workshops.
SD: Your competitors are focusing on enhancing the digital buying experience, is that something Audi will be looking at too in the future?
A: Not just future, its already happening. The digitalization is not just before buying the cars. Digitalization is a journey. So one we have to obviously take care of before buying experience which even today exists with AR or VR. All our showrooms are digitalized in terms of representation of the brand, by also giving customer experience before buying we are already in. But this just one part of it. The second part is, during the ownership of the car you are also digitalized and you are connected with the cars. So when we bring in the 'Connected Cars', you have an app which is available. You are connected to your cars all the times. So you are living the journey of digitalization. It's not just one incident before buying the car, but it's when you own the car. That's what our journey is and here onwards will be.
SD: What can we expect from Audi India next, what's in the pipeline?
Audi India Head: I will have to keep some secrets still. But I can only tell you that we are going to launch many more models in the coming years. Starting very first quarter next year and just wait for the next announcements. But let's enjoy the day today and feel good about what we have brought in the country and this is one of our flagship models and we want to reach a large section of customers. We already have 15,000 existing A6 customers and we also have to achieve more and more.
SD: I have to ask you that, obviously electrification is something that we are looking forward to and I do know that Audi had put the e-Tron on hold till the infrastructure is in place to support it. Where do you stand on that right now?
Audi India Head: We have not put e-Tron on hold. E-Tron will definitely come to India. We will announce in sometime when it will come to India. So electrification is in the core of Audi. At the same time you see that India government is also promoting electrification and we will definitely live this journey and the cars will definitely come as well. Not just one model, but there are many to come.
SD: There is no timeline fixed as yet?
Audi India Head: As I mentioned that there are some products which are planned for next year and we will announce very shortly as time comes. But we will bring, that's the bottom line.
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