Audi India is considering the possibility of launching the manual versions of the A3 and A4 sedans in India that will come with the Q3’s 6-speed gearbox.
The luxury car market in India is dominated by automatic transmissions that are offered to provide convenience over their manual versions to customers. For the longest period, automakers ensured to equip the India spec luxury models with the automatic gearbox alone; however, Audi saw a market for luxury cars with manual transmission and launched its entry-level SUV, the Q3 with a manual gearbox (S edition) that has been received very well in the market. The Q3 S Edition is a good Rs. 3 lakhs cheaper than its closest automatic counterpart and has the demand outpacing supply.
Keeping up with the same, Audi India is now exploring the possibility of launching the manual versions of the A3 and A4 sedans in the country. Both the sedans will be using the MQ 350 6-speed transmission from the Q3. The move is certainly bold for the Ingolstadt maker in a market where 99 percent of luxury cars are automatics. Other luxury car makers including Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have restricted themselves from launching cars with a manual transmission, having called the move ‘retrograde’.
However, Audi believes that launching cars with a manual transmission will certainly appeal to the driving enthusiast. The idea is to transfer the control of the car in the hands of the user and the stupendous appeal for the Q3 S has prompted the automaker to consider this possibility. The demand for the entry-level SUV is such that Audi has exhausted the allocated units for this year and will launch the facelifted version later in the year.
The Q3 currently comprises of 20-25 percent of the Audi’s sales in India and the A3 is expected to contribute another 25 percent to the total sales. The company crossed the 10,000 unit sales mark in 2013 and worked up to cross the 11,000 mark as well in 2014. With the manual variant, Audi will not only offer an enthusiast friendly offering but will also gain a pricing advantage over the competition that will boost sales further.
Source – EconomicTimes.com