Audi India sees flat sales in 2018 following duty hike

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Kolkata, April 20 (IANS) Luxury carmaker Audi India, which had looked at a double-digit growth this year, is now expecting that sales will be flat in 2018, following an increase in cess and hike of customs duty on some imported auto components announced in the Union Budget, an official said on Friday.

“Initially, we are planning for a double-digit growth in 2018 and now we are expecting a flat year for several reasons. Cess increase in September last year and customs duty hike as announced in the budget were not favourable steps for us though introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) was a great move,” said Rahil Ansari, head of Audi India.

The carmaker’s 95 per cent volume comes from cars that are assembled in India and it has invested substantially in the past years in the country and will keep on investing as it believes that India remains “a strategic market”, he said.

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Audi India sold 7,876 units in 2017, a growth of 2 per cent over sales of previous year.

“These were not favourable developments for the luxury segments. The recent changes (hike in cess and customs duty) within such a short span of time are not favourable for long term planning. We need more consistency in terms of policies,” he said here.

According to him, the carmaker has requested the government to implement more favourable policies and has been in touch with them for a relook at the recent customs hike.

“We do expect some revisions,” Ansari said, adding that about a 10 per cent dip in taxation could lead to a 25 per cent sales growth in the luxury car market in India.

The carmaker is also looking at expanding its portfolio in A and Q range including “the entry level” in India to make luxury cars more affordable, he said.

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–IANS

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