Audi looks to Indonesia for SUV market
PT Garuda Mataram Motor (GMM), the authorized dealer of German car brand Audi, launched the new Audi Q3 SUV on Thursday in a bid to strengthen its position in the luxury car market amid tight competition.
The Audi Q3 is the third variant and also the smallest of the Audi Q series, which represents the premium carmaker’s SUV lines. Due to its smaller body, the Audi Q3 can only seat five people, falling under the category of compact-class SUVs.
Audi is looking to increase its presence in the Asian market due to the relative stagnation in Europe, where it claims the largest market share for premium automobiles in the region, said Audi Southeast Asia overseas director Martin Birkner.
“The market in Europe has already matured, while Asia is a young and emerging market. The European market is still important but we definitely have to grow in Asia,” Birkner said. “However, there is still some gaps in Asia Pacific as Audi has entered the region quite late.”
Audi first entered the Indonesian market in 1997 with GMM, a subsidiary of the Indomobil Group, as its authorized dealer. Meanwhile, its rival, Mercedes-Benz, entered the country much earlier, in 1970.
Despite its relatively short presence in the country, Indonesia was named the fastest-growing market for Audi in Asia last year as sales rose more than 100 percent to 334.
Audi, however, still trails behind Mercedes Benz as well as BMW, which managed to sell 3,700 units and 1,551 cars, respectively, last year.
In spite of stiff competition, GMM is optimistic that it would repeat last year’s achievement of doubling sales. The company sold 400 cars last year and was aiming to sell 800 this year, said GMM president director, Andrew Nasuri.
For the Audi Q3, Audi AG has set a quota of 60 cars for Indonesia this year. Andrew said that the quota for Indonesia was limited because demand for the new model in other countries was high. “From this quota, more than 30 have been preordered,” said Andrew, adding that GMM had sold more than 200 of Audi’s cars by June this year.
The new model has a starting price of Rp 602 million (US$63,771) off the road, putting it at competition with similar models from other premium carmakers, such as the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and the BMW X3, which were launched in Indonesia in 2008 and 2004, respectively. Earlier this month, Japan-based premium car manufacturer Lexus also launched its SUV variants, namely the RX450 and RX 350 F-Sport. (han)
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