Sunday, January 11, 2015

Audi A3 Cabriolet convertible launched in Chennai

What can be a better way to spend Sunday evening than oogling at a a topless German model?

On invitation from Audi I went to Audi Chennai showroom to witness the unveiling of their latest launch, the A3 Cabriolet ('t' is silent, it is pronounced as 'Cabriole' ) a half a crore convertible.

A3 Cabriolet was launched in India December last year and today it was unveiled in Chennai to a select group of invitees- mostly existing Audi customers and press people, including yours truly.

A3 Cabriolet is imported CBU from Germany, hence attracts slightly higher tax than its locally assembled rival, A3. (Unless they expect certain volume of sales, cost of assembling locally won't work out. So all units that sell in less numbers are usually imported CBU- this includes Audi A8, TT, R8 and other models. The official version is that all high performance cars are imported CBU)

Audi's topless Cabriolet is probably the cheapest convertible you can buy in India (other than BMW Mini cooper convertible which costs around 36 lakhs, but that is too small). It is powered by a 1.8 litre TFSI petrol powerplant churning out 180hp and reportedly has a top speed of 242kmph & 0-100 in 7.8 seconds.

While driving topless (car I mean) is fun, that also exposes you to nature- wind, dust, pollution, rain etc. So all convertibles come with a hood that can be closed. Audi A3 Cabriolet's hood closes in 18 seconds and can be deployed on the move (in speeds upto 50kmph)

If you're interested more, watch this topgear video of convertible cars. One of the race involves starting with roof down and ending with roof ON...In a Ferrari roof can be deployed only when car is stationery..

Ex showroom price of A3 Cabriolet Chennai is Rs 45,83,000, On road price is expected to be around 53 lakhs.

I went to the venue little ahead of time so I could watch the event crew set up balloons inside the car and cover it up. This extra time gave me some opportunity to interact with few Audi officials.

Below: Mr Aditya Patel after unveiling the Cabriolet, accompanied by Mr Twinkle Krishna, VP, Audi Chennai and Mr Joe King, Head, Audi India

Some more photos: The 1.8 TFSI petrol power plant
Steering wheel
Dashboard of an Audi A3
A3 Tail lamp closeup

 Side views of A3 open top

Some self clicks with Audi
This A3 cabriolet cut out
I asked Audi officials some questions during the free time- here're the extracts (mostly answered by Mr. Vickram Subramaniam, Audi Chennai)

Q: How popular is your bullet scheme?
A: It is very popular- we are very selective about it- not every customer qualify for such a scheme. It is popular among celebrities, businessmen etc who may not have a steady income all the time but once in a while they get big money. [Read my earlier post on Audi Q3 bullet scheme]
Thick doors

Q: Are you targeting self drive companies? I can drive Merc and BMW models on selfdrive with Hertz and Zoom, but Audi is not available for self drive rental
A: Our corporate team is working on it. In most of the countries we've partnered with Avis for this.

Q: Last year there were some issues with a Q7 customer in Mumbai (Batmobile incident). Any comments?
A: (got a diplomatic answer) Audi Chennai and other south indian dealerships operated by Jubilant group are operated very professionally like a true corporate and we are very particular about the process we follow.

Q: Why name Audi Chennai? What will you do if you have to open second showroom in Chennai?
A: In Bengaluru we had Audi Bengaluru, then we opened Audi Bengaluru central. May be something like that. We might open second showroom in Chennai in about 2 years.

Q: Are you increasing price in new year like most others?
A: Yes, we did a small increase recently

Q: VW has many other premium brands- do you cross reference customers?
A: Usually customers come to Audi showroom with Audi in mind. But if they are keen, we do refer to other brands.

Audi has managed to retain top slot in premium car market, despite not having cheaper models to compete with A class/1 series. I wish them good luck with the launch of A3 cabriolet.

Watch A3 Cabriolet TVC here to see the car in action
Watch the launch video I made.. Similar: Audi limousine in US


Anonymous said...

Guys I appreciate Audi launch but the key question is that you all don't have extensive network, secondly can you guarantee 10 years maintenance free drive, finally I am not at all impressed except the brand name Audi

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anon: Comments noted. But Audi has presence in most of the tier 1 and tier 2 cities in India and expanding.

Which other premium brand you think is doing better and in what way?

The wild said...

Audi jote photo channagide :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...