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Charged Up: Luxury auto companies are set to drive in more EVs in FY24 – EQ Mag

Charged Up: Luxury auto companies are set to drive in more EVs in FY24 – EQ Mag


Mumbai : Almost a dozen luxury electric cars and SUVs are set to hit the Indian roads this fiscal year, as manufacturers seek to align their product strategy with the trend in a market where adoption of greener mobility is growing at a fast clip.

Out of the 48 passenger vehicle launches scheduled for the year through March 2024, as many as 11 are electric luxury vehicles — the highest in a fiscal year so far — with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Audi and Volvo lining up models from their global portfolio for launch in India.

In the last fiscal, out of 54 launches, only six were electric luxury vehicles. Increasing driving range and expanding charging infrastructure — which help address the biggest anxiety over the viability — along with a government push, are boosting demand for electric mobility across segments, from scooters to luxury cars.

Sales of electric luxury passenger vehicles grew 142% last fiscal year, more than four times faster than the overall luxury PV market, according to industry estimates. Sales of petrol vehicles in the segment fell 8% during the year, while those of diesel models grew 16%. This growth in luxury electric PV sales had come despite reduced incentives from the manufacturers.

Luxury vehicle makers are devising strategies to tap the increasing demand for electric vehicles. These companies, which are sitting on a large backlog of orders, expect electric vehicles to account for at least 10-15% of their total sales in the next 2-3 years.

Luxury car market leader Mercedes-Benz India estimates electric vehicles to become as much as a quarter of its sales in the next four years. “We have a very aggressive roadmap for the BEVs (battery electric vehicles) in India and will be launching multiple new BEVs from our global portfolio in the next 8-16 months,” said Santosh Iyer, MD of Mercedes-Benz India. “We forecast, by 2027, one out of four Mercedes-Benz sold in India will be a luxury BEV and we are creating a comprehensive ecosystem for our customers to support this forthcoming growth in BEVs.”

Audi, which plans to launch the Q8 e-tron in the quarter ending September, is projecting 15-20% of its sales in India to come from electric cars in the next few years. “Globally, we have decided to become a fully electric car brand by 2033 and the India strategy aligns to this,” said Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi India that currently sells five electric car models in India.

Companies said the demand for luxury electric vehicles was equally strong in small cities and towns as in metro cities. An advantage for the buyers in small cities and towns is that most of them own independent houses and can easily set up charging facility at home, unlike in cities where many apartments don’t have charging infrastructure for EVs.

“We have seen cities like Cuttack, Karnal, Calicut and other markets warming up to luxury EVs fast,” said Iyer of Mercedes-Benz.

Naveen Soni, president of Lexus India, said the company is looking at launching electric vehicles, even as the Japanese luxury brand is expanding its presence in the Indian market.

BMW Group India has delivered the fasted electric offensive in the luxury car segment by launching 4 new electric products and creating the most extensive product range – SAV (iX), sedan (i4), limousine (i7) and a hatch (MINI SE). The product offensive for this year started with the launch of BMW i7 .

“There is great traction for BMW and MINI electric cars where demand is exceeding supply.The average waiting period is currently up to 6 months depending on the model,” said Vikram Pawah, president,BMW Group India.

BMW Group’s clear focus is on continuing to ramp up electromobility globally. The next milestone for 2023 is for 15% of global total sales to come from fully-electric vehicles. BMW Group’s global e-mobility offensive will be reflected in all markets.

In 2022, luxury cars were sold in 613 cities and towns in India, with the top 83 cities accounting for 90% of the demand.

This widespread demand for luxury cars indicates a growing appetite for high-end vehicles among Indian consumers, said Ravi Bhatia, president of consultancy firm Jato Dynamics.

Source: PTI
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network